ALL new college principals will be required to be trained before they take up the job, Tessa Blackstone, minister of state for education and employment, said yesterday.
From 2002 a National Professional Qualification will be introduced, which principals will be required to hold before they take up their post. This will bring them into line with schools where qualifications for new and aspring heads are being introduced.
There will also be an induction programme for new principals in their first two years in post. The measures aim to introduce professionalism into college leadership and avert problems of incompetence at the top that have beset some institutions. A "modular leadership programme" will be developed for existing principals.
The minister, addressing the final conference of the Further Education Funding Council, in Birmingham, also said that new lecturers would be required to have a teaching qualification.
From September 2001 all new full-time lecturers will be required to gain a university Certificate in Education or equivalent within two years.Part-time teachers will be required to achieve a City and Guilds 7307 Teaching Certificate. There will be discussions with colleges and unions over a proposed requirement for a formal probationary period for all new teachers.
But, as FE Focus revealed in September, the Government has backed away from requiring all existing lecturers to have qualified teacher status.
Some pound;80 million from the Standards Fund will be provided for "flexible, tailored professional development activity included as part of a college staff development plan, agreed with the Learning and Skills Council."
Paul Mackney, general secretary of NATFHE, the lecturers' union, said the scale of the problem was so large, it would need to be phased. There had to be pay and incentives to encourage existing staff, and it should eventually lead to a fully certified workforce.
Nadine Cartner, education officer for the Association for College Management, said: "We welcome these measures for promoting greater professionalism and higher qualification levels among teachers and principals."