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Teaching qualifications are essential, FE sector warns government

The Institute for Learning is pressing the case for retaining initial teacher training in the further education sector with a collection of essays from teachers, leaders and academics.

The IfL wants the document, published last week, to further the debate about professionalism within FE in England in the face of deregulation by the government.

The requirement for teaching qualifications is being scrapped under new legislation coming into force next month.

Last year 87 per cent of almost 6,000 IfL members surveyed strongly supported a national requirement for FE teachers and trainers to be qualified.

Labour opposes the move and has said if it wins the next election all teachers will need formal teaching qualifications.

IfL chief executive Toni Fazaeli said it is “deeply concerned” about the possible impact of dregulation.

“Further education plays an indispensable role in improving the life chances and career opportunities of millions of people, for the benefit of our economy and society,” she said.

“IfL believes that tomorrow’s engineers, accountants, technicians, mechanics, plumbers, chefs and healthcare workers should be taught by teachers who know their specialist subject well and have been through initial teacher training to ensure that they have the right teaching skills too.”

One of the contributors to the document is FE lecturer and TES columnist Sarah Simons, who says educational providers owe it to their learners to ensure the people they trust to deliver qualifications are themselves qualified to do so.

“In recent years the sector has made great headway in distancing itself from the outdated image of have-a-go teachers doing their best, when their unskilled, unqualified best was often not good enough,” she writes.

“Statutory requirement of ITT qualifications ensures that the professional status of all teachers and trainers in the sector remains intact.” 

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said the new Education and Training Foundation – the employer-led body formerly known as the FE Guild – was in place and would develop a “firm foundation” for self regulation.

It will be for individual institutions to decide what teaching qualifications are needed for their own situation, the spokesman added.

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