GTC gives up fight on qualifications parity
Work on giving FE teaching qualifications parity in schools has been dropped by the General Teaching Council for England (GTC) because of the threat of abolition to the schoolteachers' regulatory body.
The GTC's board meeting last week endorsed a report which recommended that it should take no action over the disparity between Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and FE's qualification, which means that lecturers cannot be paid as qualified staff if they work in schools.
The report to the GTC outlined obstacles to FE's Qualified Teacher in Learning and Skills (QTLS) award in schools, saying it is based on accreditation on the job, and that at under 10 per cent has low take-up - although the qualification is relatively new.
"It also said that the continuous professional development requirement meant that QTLS was not a "permanent qualification".
"The different entry requirements between the two sectors is a concern for the GTC. Concerns were raised regarding teaching 14 to 19 in vocational qualifications, since QTLS are not legally entitled to teach in state schools," the GTC was told.
Keith Bartley, chief executive of the GTC, said that because of the decision to abolish it, the council had stopped some long-term projects.
"We are not continuing some research and evidence gathering for pieces of work where we may not be able to adopt a policy plan before the organisation ceases to exist," he said.
A spokeswoman for the GTC said the report was intended to identify issues with establishing parity between the qualifications rather than being a critique of the value of QTLS.
The Institute for Learning has been trying to work with the GTC to devise a short accreditation programme allowing people to switch between a qualified role in FE to one in schools without a lengthy requalifying process.
But the GTC's decision may mean no progress can be made for years, while wrangling over the regulatory body's future continues: the Government has announced its abolition but as yet has no replacement for its statutory duty of registering teachers.
Toni Fazaeli, chief executive of IfL, said: "Teachers with QTLS are experts in their vocational areas and have professional status. It's important that we have the best vocational teachers in schools and colleges, whether they are QTLS or QTS. There should be no artifical barriers to that."
Martin Ward, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "No-one would claim that these qualifications are the same, but there's every reason to suppose that they have similar standing within their different regimes. There's every reason to consider some sort of cross-recognition."