The Government is to legislate to allow all FE lecturers to teach in schools to boost its vocational education programme.
At present, teachers need a Certificate of Education or a PGCE to teach in schools, but this is not necessary in FE. Estelle Morris said this week, when she launched her long-awaited White Paper, that she wanted FE lecturers to "root themselves" in the 14-19 curriculum in order to enhance vocational education. There needed to be more partnership working between everyone in the statutory and post-16 sectors, and legislative barriers would be removed.
FENTO, the lecturers' training organisation, welcomed the decision. Veronica Windmill, director of standards and qualifications said: "This is exactly what people in the sector want. At the moment it is all one-way traffic, with people moving from schools to FE."
Linda Butler, of the Association of Colleges, also welcomed the move. "We have been asking for this change as it benefits staff to be able to move freely between the two sectors. It also underpins our case for parity of status, and strengthens arguments for improved pay and conditions."
The legislation may involve an even bigger overhaul of provision for the 14-19 age group. There is to be a consultation paper in the new year looking "at structural barriers to a coherent 14-19 phase", which will cover organisation, funding and inspection. The White Paper says that the expansion of sixth forms and dedicated 16-19 provision will be encouraged. Procedures for the planning and organisation of post-16 provision will be streamlined to enable expansion to happen quickly.
The consultation paper would look at how to encourage all young people to stay in education and training beyond 16.
Yesterday the Learning and Skills Council issued guidance to schools on the new funding arrangements for sixth forms in 2002-03.
The council money for schools will continue to come via the local education authority - without new burdensome audit arrangements. And schools will be able to spend the money on either pre or post-16 provision. The level of funding will not fall in real terms so long as student numbers do not fall, ministers have promised.