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Lecturers to have their own professional body

Jim Wallace also announced in his speech plans to set up a professional body for staff in FE.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland has long campaigned to be the body with which all lecturers would have to register, a move which is strongly supported by the unions but equally vigorously opposed by most college managements. The Executive is said to be "agnostic" on what form a new body would take.

Mr Wallace said a consultation would kick off early in the new session. The TESS understands it will canvass opinion on three options - the status quo, voluntary arrangements and a regulatory body which would give licences to practise. Also up for discussion is whether it should cover lecturers only or include all FE staff.

In a separate move, the Minister indicated he is setting up a working group to look at the qualifications required by lecturers to teach school pupils.

It will be chaired by Professor David Raffe, of Edinburgh University's school of education, and report to Ministers by next January.

At present lecturers are barred from teaching school pupils unless they are qualified and registered with the GTC. The drive towards giving pupils under the age of 16 access to courses in FE colleges, which may be taught by unqualified staff, has brought the issue to a head.

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