Give lecturers status to work in schools, MPs told

12th June 2009 at 01:00

It is time to end the situation that means fully qualified further education lecturers cannot teach in schools while schoolteachers can walk into a college job, MPs heard this week.

FE's professional designation, qualified teacher learning and skills, is not recognised by schools under current rules. A qualified FE lecturer wishing to teach in a school would have to take a PGCE or a B.Ed degree and then gain qualified teaching status.

By contrast, an appropriately qualified teacher is allowed to teach in further education straight away, although they are expected to gain QTLS status within five years.

"There is no reason why there should not be transferability between the two sectors," Stella Mbubaegbu, principal of Highbury College in Portsmouth, told the children, schools and families select committee this week.

Michael Thrower, general secretary of the Principals' Professional Council, said: "For 20 years as a principal, I fought hard for parity of esteem between academic and vocational education, without very much success.

"I see this as yet another example of a lack of parity of esteem. I see no reason why FE teachers cannot teach in school.

"It is also a question about pay. Teachers in FE are traditionally paid 10 per cent below (teachers). If you gave them the same teaching qualification, you would have to pay them the same."

David Hunter, chief executive of Lifelong Learning UK, said: "Upgrading parity of esteem is critical.

"In Northern Ireland, FE teachers must do a certificate of education, then they go on to do a diploma and they can then move to teach in schools."

Toni Fazaeli, chief executive of the Institute for Learning, told the committee that the institute was working with the General Teaching Council for England to improve the routes into school teaching for FE lecturers.

"There is a possibility of an assessment route for those teachers in FE, through assessment of prior learning, to more readily move into schools.

"The big question is: to what extent will the regulations in schools have to change for that porous arrangement to work two ways?"

The hearing was part of the Commons select committee's inquiry into teacher training.

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