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FE teachers to require qualifications, says Blackstone


The Department for Education and Employment has released details of a new qualification framework for the Further Education sector, designed, it says, to raise standards and the status of teaching within it.

New tutors who want to teach within Further Education on courses leading to a recognised national standard will have to gain a recognised national qualification of their own within two to four years, most likely to be either the PGCE or City and Guilds (7307) Teaching Certificate. The DfEE will also look at introducing a probationary period for new staff.

New College Principals will also be expected to gain a qualification similar to that currently undertaken by school head teachers.

No formal qualification requirements are being established for existing staff but Education and Employment Minister Tessa Blackstone said that "we also recognise that existing staff need continuing professional development, and we want to ensure that all teachers can get the best possible training to suit their needs. A priority of the new Learning and Skills Councils will be to require all colleges to assess the development needs of their staff and produce an action plan to set out how to meet them. The LSCs will back this with £80 million from the Standards Fund next year to support delivery of action plans."

The government is backing the new qualifications with £80 million over the next two years. Existing teachers will also be eligible for matched funding for training, and the existing modular leadership programme for serving college Principals will also be extended.

The new qualification requirements will come into force for new teaching staff in September 20001 and for new Principals in 2002.

Speaking to TrainingZONE last week, Tony Green, CEO of the Employment NTO, welcomed the move towards standardising requirements for qualifications for those delivering government-funded training: "The introduction of National Standards in Training and Development will mean mandatory minimum qualifications for anyone involved in training on government-funded programmes in England. There's been a lot of discussion with training providers about the qualifications and the message is that they're happy with the idea, because it should get rid of the 'cowboys'. For good training providers it holds no fears. Good trainers are the key to unlocking people's abilities."


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