Headlines: April 12th, 2006

The Department for Education and Skills wants the views of partner organizations and staff on proposals for sweeping reform of further education. Workforce reform is central to the aim to drive up the quality of teaching, reward colleges for success and make the sector more responsive to the needs of individuals and employers.The report on the sector by Sir Andrew Foster found an unacceptable level of unqualified staff and a new qualification is being introduced to ensure a minimum level of proficiency. The ‘Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills’ status, will come into effect from 2007. The DfEE wants views on how the qualification could be used to improve recruitment. It also wants suggestions on the design of a probationary period and fitting probation into the overall scheme.

There will also be a new qualification for newly appointed Principals of FE colleges. As well as raising the leadership standard the qualification will be an essential factor in attracting people into the sector and staff into Principal’s posts. The DfEE also wants to get greater equality and diversity in leadership posts and it is seeking views on how this might be done.

Continuing professional development will also be a key element in driving up standards. The DfEE wants views on how this new mandatory requirement could be put into effect and how it could be applied to part time staff.

Bill Rammell, Minister for Lifelong Learning Further and Higher Education, said: ” Our proposals on continuous professional development will ensure that the knowledge and skills of teachers keep pace with current and future demands. This consultation is a vital opportunity to say how this can work and we look to leaders, teachers, teacher trainers, learners and others to respond and give their views.” He added: “We will also seek views on how professionalisation can help tutors and teachers in work-based learning.

The consultation will run until 4th July 2006. The consultation document is at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations.