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New standards for FE teachers tell them what is expected at work

The further education and skills sector has welcomed a new set of professional standards for teachers and trainers.

Published today by the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), the new standards set out what is expected of FE professionals in their daily practice.

Developed jointly with teachers, trainers and employers, the standards are arranged as 20 one-sentence points, which fill just one sheet of A4 paper and are grouped under three headings: values and attributes, knowledge and understanding, and skills.

The ETF said they are designed to set out clear expectations of effective practice, allow teachers to identify where they need to develop, support initial teacher training, and provide a national reference point.

While most of the expectations are not necessarily new, some address more recent priorities around numeracy, literacy and technology.

Under professional skills there is a particular emphasis on addressing the maths and English needs of learners, as well as promoting the benefits of technology and supporting learners in its use.

There is also a particular emphasis on improving collaboration and self-evaluation.

The Institute for Learning, which was a member of the group responsible for developing the standards, said they provide an “excellent foundation” for further conversations about learning and development.

IfL’s chief executive Dr Jean Kelly said: “The standards summarise the expectations that teachers and trainers set for themselves. Rather than being prescriptive, they offer a framework for teachers and trainers to evaluate and develop their practice, collaborating and sharing with peers.

“IfL also supports the emphasis on helping learners with maths and English, and on promoting the benefits of technology. We encourage teachers and trainers to use these new standards as part of their reflective practice and professional dialogue with colleagues and peers, leaders and learners.”

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers said it was particularly encouraging that the standards endorsed autonomy and trust in FE and skills teachers, and said it looked forward to seeing how they would be incorporated by colleges.

But the University and College Union's head of further education, Andrew Harden, said teachers and trainers already follow high standards that they set themselves.

"It is encouraging these standards support and recognise the need for preparation," he added.

"Staff are already putting in extra hours each week to get their work done. While aspirational recommendations are to be applauded, it is important that staff have the time and resources to meet them.”

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