From education to employment

Inquiry calls to remove academic and vocational pay discrepancies

A radical overhaul is needed to remove discrepancies between teachers of academic and vocational education, an inquiry by the Skills Commission urges today.

The panel, comprising of distinguished figures from the skills arena, is calling on the government to combine their training regimes to standardise the teaching status across 14-19 education.

Its inquiry warns Further Education’s vocational teachers have been relegated to a second division of teaching. As such, they often receive lower wages and status than compared to their academic counterparts in schools.

Martin Freedman, head of pay, pensions and conditions at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, welcomed the call to remove the discrepancies between teaching academic and vocational subjects.

“It is ridiculous and totally unfair for those teaching 16-19 year olds in colleges to be paid less than their counterparts teaching 16-19 year olds in schools. We have long argued for this false divide to end,” said Mr Freedman.

Peter Mitchell, education director of Edge, the independent education foundation which sponsored the inquiry, said: “There are some harsh economic times ahead for the UK, and now more than ever it is vital that we are equipping young people with the skills they need to succeed – this must start with supporting our teachers.

“There are many paths to success and as a result there should be no poor relations in the education system.”

The inquiry argues that work experience and expertise must be valued to secure top teaching talent for the increasing numbers of vocational learners.

Simon Bartley, chief executive of UK Skills, which is behind WorldSkills London 2011, the largest skills competition in the world, agreed current practices failed to “allow for the practical intelligence that is required for excellent vocational teaching”.

Mr Bartley said: “By hosting the WorldSkills London 2011, the UK has set itself the challenge of demonstrating the quality of the UK’s vocational education and training system through a world beating performance by the UK team.

“To achieve this performance requires excellent training and development carried through by reflective practitioners possessing skill, technical intelligence and outstanding teaching ability.

“To support teachers and trainers from initial training to world class capabilities requires a framework of professional qualifications to challenge them at the highest levels of cognition and application.”

Jason Rainbow

(Pictured: UK Skills chief executive Simon Bartley)

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