We can be in no doubt that the state is rowing back from controlling, setting targets and measuring every microscopic move in the further education sector and across other government-funded services. Furthermore, ministers are very clear that micromanaging is not the role of the government. This gives us a proper and fundamental question to consider, which I will return to later: "Is micromanaging anybody’s role?"

Professional teachers and trainers across further education tell the Institute for Learning (IfL), their professional body, that their work is scrutinised and checked too much, and to the extent that the ‘weighing of the pig’ gets in the way of their focusing sufficiently on the outcomes for their learners. IfL hears of many examples where a third or more of a teacher's or trainer’s time is spent on activities other than teaching and related activities of preparation, marking and directly relevant professional development. Teachers’ and trainers’ time can be stolen by administration, checking and being checked for compliance by a manager in charge of one employer-created system or another, sometimes couched as, or actually, needed for Ofsted or a funding body.

The new world heralded by the coalition government focuses on the best outcomes for learners, employers and local communities, not well-defined inputs of funding, hidebound units of activity and a restricted list of ‘priority qualifications’. This in turn will surely mean that employers, colleges and providers, focus on the best outcomes for learners and look to shed any hidebound systems and restrictions that have impeded teachers and trainers. Why the focus on teachers and trainers? As I have written before, take the teachers and trainers out of FE, and there is a hollow offer for learners and employers.

It is not easy being a professional. Talk with any teacher, lawyer, nurse, surgeon, engineer or accountant. Professionals shoulder a great deal of responsibility and, with that, the freedom to decide on the best ways of achieving good outcomes, and to determine their own professional development needs. A good professional seeks the views of others, especially the learners or service beneficiaries and their manager; considers research findings and reports on best practice; and, crucially, reflects on their own practice and its effectiveness. They are determined to give a good service, as a minimum, and they harbour a thirst and determination to improve and be excellent. Their determination to deliver the obligations of being professional and to be accorded proper professional status is why, back in 2002, teachers in FE, supported by leaders from the sector, created their own professional body, IfL.

The public and learners can be sure they will get an up-to-date service because teachers and trainers, every year, give a major focus to their own continuing professional development. Their teaching of physics, plumbing or philosophy, for example, is modern, not as it was 10 or 20 years ago. Just as when I had an operation recently, I was confident that the surgeon, although in his 50s and long past his initial training, was up to date in the most recent developments in laparoscopic surgery.

Since 2007, for teachers and trainers before or just after they start to teach, entry to the teaching and training profession in FE demands high standards through initial teacher training, followed by gaining the full professional status of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS), awarded by the professional body, IfL. Full professional status gives the public and learners confidence that they should receive a quality learning experience and be highly likely to succeed.

If the public and learners are confident in the effectiveness and currency of teachers and trainers in FE, managers can be too. Because teachers and trainers are members of their professional body, IfL, and meet the standards of the profession, colleges and providers have the opportunity to consider how heavily they need to keep their foot on the pedal of checking teachers and trainers. Our understanding is that college leaders and employers, unless there are serious problems, respect and review rather than frequently scrutinise the minutiae of the performance of their accountants, estates and HR professionals. The FE sector has the best ever generation of new teachers and trainers, with Ofsted giving a green light to the standards and effectiveness of initial teacher training and to the more diverse approaches to CPD. These give a strong focus on good and ever better teaching, and therefore better outcomes for learners.

So, if we reconsider our earlier question, "Is micromanaging anybody’s role?" – the self-evident answer is that it is neither affordable, nor, especially in times of scarce resources, sensible.

However, one stinging question remains. Is QTLS accorded the same status as Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), held by school teachers? IfL has worked to make parity a reality through giving robust evidence to the Select Committee and to the Skills Commission, leading to parity of QTS and QTLS being a recommendation in both reports, with the expectation that the government will respond. IfL has talked with and built a ‘coalition’ with a range of senior officials in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Education (DfE), and with schools agencies, including the Training and Development Agency (TDA). We are helping to ensure that practical routeways exist for teachers with QTLS to get proper professional recognition for teaching in schools settings.

TDA consulted on and gained broad support for an ‘assessment-only route’ to QTS. Hopefully, the DfE will agree soon that this route should be adopted, giving a rigorous and quick way for FE teachers holding a degree and QTLS to gain QTS. IfL is committed to the highest standards and quality of teaching, which is why, over the next few months, we will be working with 20 or so members holding QTLS who have volunteered to help pilot new ways to gain QTS and teach in schools for part of their time as recognised full professionals holding QTLS.

Teachers holding QTLS can bring much-needed and highly expert vocational teaching to young people, whether they learn in an FE or school setting. Ofsted’s finding that 14-16 provision in colleges is very good demonstrates that FE teachers are very likely to succeed, even when schoolteachers’ approaches so far may not have worked well with some young learners. IfL believes that teaching to high standards deserves equal standing.

Toni Fazaeli is the chief executive of the Institute for Learning (IfL), the professional body for teachers, trainers, tutors and student teachers across the further education and skills sector


Read other FE News articles by Toni Fazaeli:

Looking for hope in the Budget

Professional teaching and training is crucial to the nation's economic and social ambitions

Collaboration in action
 

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Neil Richardson commented on Let’s stop being so quick to axe funding when colleges falter 10 hours 5 minutes ago

Since the call here seems to include Mind the Quality,
in which ways should quality be defined and...

Abertay has published a new article: How do I qualify as a First Aid Trainer? 22 hours 14 minutes ago
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 22 hours 20 minutes ago

The latest podcasts from FE News for 10/16/2021 - https://t.co/Hyjo6M7BQX
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page