Get ready for the starter's gun

30th March 2007 at 01:00
The first schools and colleges to offer the new 14-19 qualifications in September 2008 have now been selected.

Some 361 consortia applied to the Diploma Gateway, the process to select those partnerships deemed ready to pilot the first five diplomas. But what now? What is in place to support the schools and colleges in preparing to deliver the new qualifications in collaboration with each other and with employers?

Consortia will have support from a range of organisations to help them prepare their workforce for the diplomas, and pound;45 million will be available in 2007-08 for 14-19 workforce development.

Typically they will have access to training and materials support for teaching staff and network support for managers.

There is even support for those consortia which were not selected this time.

For teachers and lecturers

* Staff will get face-to-face training and coaching through a three-day continuing professional development package. This is likely to be over two days next autumn term and one day in spring term 2008.

* There will be on-going support. Every region will have a series of networks of lead practitioners operated by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) who teachers can turn to for help.

* Training materials and tools are being developed for all of the first five diploma lines by the Quality Improvement Agency and Nord Anglia. These will be used as part of the three-day training events and by support networks as teaching begins.

* A virtual learning environment is being set up so all staff can access information and peer discussion.

* Generic and subject specific materials will be available for those teaching functional skills. They will also get face-to-face training and support networks delivered at local level in English, maths and information technology.

For leaders and managers

The National College for School Leadership and the Centre for Excellence in Leadership are working together to provide free support through:

* online discussions and question and answer sessions between specialist 14-19 advisers and school leaders;

* regional conferences offering support for new partnerships and opportunities to hear from established ones, to share ideas and to stay up to date on reforms;

* coaching and organisational development support to help leaders manage change and work together effectively; and

* support for innovative projects, leadership exchange opportunities and comprehensive online information, activities and links to other resources.

For new staff

* To encourage new teachers there will be a professional development toolkit that looks at key skills they need to deliver the diploma and makes recommendations for development.

* New recruits will come through new initial teacher training routes specifically developed for diplomas.

For working withemployers

Diploma development partnerships, which include representation from industry, are helping to steer workforce development for the diploma.

Direct involvement of industry in training will include:

* employers playing a role in teacher training days. The DfES aim is for one of the three days of teachers' and lecturers' continuing professional development package to be in an industrial setting;

* Lifelong Learning UK developing an industrial updating programme to ensure greater employer engagement;

* diploma development partnerships adding their own resources. For example, those teaching the construction diploma can access materials from a network of curriculum centres;

* extending industrial exchanges for teachers and lecturers.

For consortia whose bids failed

There will be support from a range of organisations for those partnerships which were unsuccessful in the first selection, to help them keep their momentum to improve as the diplomas are rolled out nationwide by 2013.

There will also be additional funding to help consortia wishing to submit next time.

Over the next two months, the DfES and its partner organisations will review the first Diploma Gateway process and then announce how the next one will work. It will also be looking at supporting the successful ones to share good practice.


April to July 2007

* Training the Trainers programme developed by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and generic training materials assembled by Nord Anglia.

* Online audit tool and training guidance produced by the Training and Development Agency for Schools to allow staff to assess their skills against those needed to teach the diplomas.

* Lifelong Learning UK developing a programme to ensure greater employer engagement.

* Successful consortia will work with the diploma development partnerships to assess how ready their workforces are.

JuneJuly 2007

* Training for Functional Skills pilot will be carried out by National Strategies, the management programme created to help raise standards in education.

* Training the Trainers programme carried out by the SSAT.

* Agreement reached with the awarding bodies of the diplomas about their specific input to the more specialised aspects of the qualifications.

From September 2007

* Training and support materials become available for up to 5,000 teachers.

* A virtual learning environment becomes available for all diploma practitioners to access online materials, case studies and support.

* Staff gain access to regional and national support networks.

From September 2008

* New Qualified Teacher Status and Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills routes developed for diploma teachers.

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