An army of specialists is being recruited to ensure that staff delivering a new key-skills qualification from September are themselves up to speed on basic features of education.
The key-skills task force, due to be launched by the Further Education Development Agency on March 2, will include 120 trainers recruited from colleges, schools and local authorities. After intensive training from the agency's own advisers, they will embark on a nationwide campaign to inform staff in colleges and schools about the qualification and recommend the best way of delivering it alongside A-levels and GNVQs.
The pound;1.4 million task force is the latest part of a FEDA-run key skills support programme, much of which has focused on development projects linked with delivering the key skills of communication and the application of number and information technology.
But Deirdre Kimbell, executive manager for the agency's support programme, says it is time to focus on trining staff. "The clear message is that colleges and schools require training, support and consultancy at a local level," she says.
Colleges and schools will be able to bid for training and support, either individually or as part of consortiums. Teachers who receive training will be expected to pass on what they learn to colleagues until details about the qualification "cascades" to all relevant college or school staff.
About half of the task force were already on the agency's books at the start of the year after taking part in other key-skills projects. The remaining 60 trainers were recruited in February and include key skills co-ordinators and local education authority advisers.
Training of task force members is expected to be completed later this month. Ms Kimbell says colleges are generally more advanced in key skills than schools, but it is important that all teachers get the same message.
Staff call for training, page 42.