Rob Wye is chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service

In March John Hayes, the Skills Minister, issued a written statement about fee awards for FE initial teacher training. In the statement, he announced that LSIS would be tasked with the effective administration of the awards. This is a duty we are pleased to discharge and take seriously. As the Minister stated:

"Recruiting the best talent is central to making the sector as good as it can be, and a key element in our approach to driving up standards and increasing professionalism in the sector. Further education is at the heart of the economic revival; at the core of social renewal."

Taking on the responsibility for the awards also echoes the first of LSIS's three strategic priorities, which is to equip the sector to achieve outstanding teaching and learning. We are pleased to be able to support the recruitment of the next generation of our sector's teachers. Skilled and qualified teachers are the lifeblood of the FE sector and they serve a vital role in shaping the future workforce of every sector in the economy. These awards are one way of ensuring that professionals with the right skills and expertise are able to improve the quality of teaching and learning in our sector.

The fee awards will help fund a total of 11,000 places on initial teacher training courses, with the government earmarking 1,000 of the awards for those seeking to teach basic English and mathematics (including functional skills). In addition, trainee FE teachers who are on basic English and mathematics training courses will receive an additional £500, on top of the £1,000 award. English and mathematics are fundamental skills for all employees and we at LSIS are delighted that BIS has decided to offer an extra incentive to those who wish to take up these teacher training courses.

The awards are not the only project that BIS has asked us to undertake in order to support outstanding teaching and learning, in addition to the whole range of activities we have in our core work plan in support of our priority of teaching and learning, and our role as secretariat to the Commission on Vocational Teaching and Learning. We are also currently conducting for BIS the review of FE teacher training qualifications, in order to present to the sector a simplified version of the current system. The review will be opened up to the sector to give everyone an opportunity to contribute their thoughts and help shape the future of FE teacher training qualifications. We are proud to have been asked to create and develop this review and we are able to draw upon our experience of the FE & Skills sector. It clearly highlights our core role in the professionalisation of the workforce.

Rob Wye is chief executive of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, which aims to accelerate the drive for excellence in the further education and skills sector

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