Progression in the context of adult basic education is concerned with reaching personal goals and relates to all members of the service. It can be a motivating factor and provide a challenge or a definite aim. However, there are some difficulties associated with progression, particularly in a literacy setting. Students and staff may feel under stress or threatened, especially by courses which involve examinations or tests.

For many students, even a relatively small change such as moving from one tutor to another or from one-to-one tuition into small group tuition may constitute a significant step in terms of progression and needs to be recognised as such. Confidence and positive feelings about one’s ability to learn independently or with others are important factors when planning progression, both within and beyond the literacy service.

It is difficult to say how long a student’s programme of literacy tuition should last. The student is usually the best judge of that. In order to make this decision, students need information about the variety of learning and progression routes available. The students’ right to determine in what ways they wish to progress should always be respected and thus it is important that students are not pressurised into accredited courses and are aware of all non-accredited and accredited opportunities open to them.

Current progression routes for students include accredited courses, further education and training opportunities, employment and community or voluntary activities. It is important to note, progression can also be increased confidence and better networking skills.

Tutors need to be able to negotiate students’ goals with them and to explain honestly the difficulties and challenges that may arise if they embark on an accredited course. In addition, all literacy centres should have access to an adult guidance and counselling service where students can gain more detailed information and advice.

Such guidance needs to be part of regular review procedures and should include access to clear up-to-date information, realistic goal setting advice and counselling.

Progression for volunteer and paid staff relates to personal and career development and should be supported by management.

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