Scotland’s college lecturers are to be registered and regulated by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), with registration to be phased in over a number of years, it has been announced
While some of Scotland’s FE teaching staff are already registered with the GTCS, a requirement for all lecturers to be registered with a body similar to the GTCS was part of the terms and conditions of the sector’s National Joint Negotiating Committee settlement in 2017 – the agreement that also moved all lecturers onto a pay scale towards a salary of over £40,000.
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Registration and regulation
Now, a cross-sector working group has been set up to establish the requirements and pathways of such registration, as well as regulation by the GTCS, the world’s oldest self-regulating professional body for teaching. It currently has more than 75,000 educators on its register, and of this number, more than 400 are college lecturers.
The working group includes representatives of the GTCS, as well as teaching union EIS FELA, Colleges Scotland’s Employers' Association, universities offering the teaching qualification in further education (TQFE) and the Scottish government.
It will aim to ensure the distinct identity of the college sector is reflected in any registration and regulation arrangements. Registration will be phased over a number of years to reflect the wide range of backgrounds and roles that lecturers in colleges bring to the sector, the group has said. As a first stage, therefore, voluntary registration for college lecturers will continue and those seeking to register at this stage will be required to have a TQFE.
Wide range of services
Arrangements for lecturers who do not currently have a TQFE or equivalent qualification and wish to register are being discussed by the group. The Professional Standards for College Lecturers will be managed by GTCS, and lecturers will also benefit from the wide range of services currently offered by GTCS.
Kenneth Muir, chief executive of the GTCS and chair the working group, said: “We think it is fundamentally important that anyone directly involved in the learning and teaching of young people and adult learners in Scotland’s colleges is registered and regulated by the General Teaching Council for Scotland.
“Registration and regulation give the public reassurance about the existing quality and standards of lecturers and teachers. It also reaffirms their ability to engage fully with the complexities of education and to be key actors in shaping and leading educational change. Finally, it would deliver a renewed commitment to ongoing lecturer-led career-long professional learning and development, supported through high-quality professional review and development, and individual self-evaluation against the Professional Standards for lecturers.”
'Great step for the sector'
Shona Struthers, chief executive of the Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, said: “We are fully supportive of professional registration for college lecturers and have been working in partnership with key stakeholders to take forward its implementation. This is a great step forward for the sector which will ensure that all teaching staff in colleges are professionally registered and ultimately enhance the quality of provision available to students across the country. The registration will be delivered through a phased approach and will ensure that the college workforce capacity is further enhanced.”
Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said the union welcomed the opportunity to participate in the joint working group, “which will embed support for career-long learning and development opportunities for all lecturers in the sector”.
He added: “Professional registration of college lecturers has been a long-standing policy of EIS-FELA as we believe that college lecturers deserve the professional recognition which registration brings and the acknowledgement that teaching in a college requires a body of knowledge and the development of skills and experience to deliver vocational and academic qualifications to a wide range of learners.”