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A force to be proud of

If it is good enough for the student or apprentice, it should be good enough for the teacher. The UK has reshaped its entire system for work-related training around the testing of skills leading to NVQs. So, for practical purposes, many craft teachers and workshop tutors need only basic pedagogic training that helps them manage the task.

The push for a fully-qualified teaching force in FE is relatively new. But, already, qualified teaching, learning and skills status (QTLS) is a remarkable achievement. It is more than a label. It mirrors QTS in schools and gives practitioners real status - defining the levels of achievement reached by people teaching in the wider further education system.

Ideally, as QTLS evolves over the next four years, it will become a career passport for teachers to move freely around this complex world of colleges, academies, training workshops, libraries, museums and outreach community learning centres.

There is a danger it will prove a hurdle too high for some, turning off those willing to split their time between industry and the classroom. As we report on page 1, there is a crisis in the recruitment of people from industry to teach basic skills. They will not commit time for teacher training beyond their professional needs or their wallet.

To appease them, there are dangers in backtracking too far from the goal of having all staff trained to QTLS by 2010. It should be remembered how governments have used lack of qualified status to block pay parity between lecturers and teachers.

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