In all nearly 100 people attended the three initial practitioner consultation seminars, held in the East Midlands, the Northwest and London. At each of them there were inputs on the overall Skills for Life Strategy, on the work of the Centre and on possibilities for involving practitioners in research. Participants had received the Centre’s Draft Strategic Plan (February 2002 version) beforehand and this formed the basis of the discussions at the seminars. There were general discussion groups, groups on specific topics and participants also filled in a four page questionnaire. The atmosphere of the seminars was enthusiastic, supportive and knowledgeable, and the participants provided a broad range of ideas and suggestions for the Centre to take account of. All feedback from the groups and the questionnaires has been organised and collated and sorted into nine sections. These notes form the basis of the appendices.
Firstly, we asked for suggestions of research which needs to be done in the areas of teaching and learning literacy, numeracy and ESOL and these suggestions are reported in the first four appendices. The points which are made fall into some quite different categories. Some are suggestions which existing planned research projects can take account of; some are ideas which would make good small scale projects; and there are suggestions of additional areas which the draft strategic plan did not address. In addition, many suggestions are general comments about people’s experiences, rather than proposals about research, and there are also general points about the overall Skills for Life Strategy.
In summary, it should be clear that this initial consultation was of great value to the work of the Centre in many ways and that it is having an impact on our work at various levels. Consultation is an on-going activity and we are now working out ways of making it a central part of carrying out research. More focused consultations are now being carried out by two practitioner organisations associated with the Centre, RaPAL (the Research and Practice in Adult Literacy group) and ALM (Adults Learning Maths); these consultations will get reactions to specific aspects of the Centre’s planned research programme. To provide national coverage we are also discussing with consortium partners, especially LSDA and NIACE, how to formalise the consultation and dissemination aspects of our work.