The first teaching apprenticeship standard for the further education sector could be ready within months, according to the Association of Colleges (AoC).
The FE learning and skills level 5 apprenticeship standard, currently awaiting approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships, has been in the pipeline since 2014. It has been designed as a teaching-based standard, and will be a route for current members of staff who aspire to hold a teaching qualification.
Teresa Frith, senior skills policy manager at the AoC, says the new standard could be available within the next couple of months, and that colleges are “very keen” to utilise their levy on it. The AoC has estimated that colleges are paying in the region of £20 million into the levy every year.
“We are aware that colleges and independent training providers alike are very keen to be able to utilise their levy, and even use co-financing to help with their staff development programmes for teachers,” Ms Frith says. “It would be interesting to see how the levy might be utilised to help retrain an existing teacher to become a specialist in maths, for example, where we know there’s an awful shortage.”
Unlocking colleges' levy payments
Earlier this year, a report by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF) revealed that the number of learners studying initial teacher education (ITE) courses for FE had dropped by 22 per cent between 2013-14 and 2014-15 – the biggest year-on-year fall since the organisation started compiling data.
David Russell, chief executive of the ETF, says he hopes the new apprenticeship standards will be made available for colleges soon. “I hope that FE colleges and large providers will see them approved very soon so that their levy payments can be unlocked for this purpose,” he says.
The FE teaching apprenticeship standard follows the launch of a postgraduate teaching apprenticeship for school teachers, for which applications opened on Ucas yesterday.
The level 5 FE teaching apprenticeship was due to be submitted to the Institute for Apprenticeships this week, according to a spokesperson for the institute. Two further FE teaching apprenticeships – FE lead teacher and assessor coach – were submitted last month and are due to be considered by the IfA route panel in November.
This is an edited version of an article in the 27 October edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full article here. To subscribe, click here. This week's Tes magazine is available at all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here.