We need integrated training, too

15th May 2009 at 01:00

Mick Fletcher (Comment, May 8) offers a clear and persuasive argument for an integrated 14-19 funding system to support a coherent 14-19 phase of education.

I agree that the simplicity of the 14-16 stage funding should be extended to further education. I think, however, that we can go one step further in the quest for a seamless and sensible 14-19 curriculum delivery in schools and colleges.

There is more than "one thing missing" in establishing a consistent 14-19 offer to students, including one I believe to be vital to the sustained success of this reform, and that is a single and overarching teacher training qualification.

The Government missed a prime opportunity to reform initial teacher training in 2005, when the Teacher Training Agency became the Training and Development Agency and Lifelong Learning UK was created to replace the Further Education National Training Organisation. With 14-19 reforms already emergent, and the debate on professionalisation in FE clearly active, the need for qualified teacher status to be extended across all initial teacher training (for compulsory and post-compulsory education) was evident.

Instead of simplicity in training teachers to teach the 14-19 curriculum, we have complexity. Schoolteachers are less able to transfer into colleges, because of requirements by the Institute for Learning, via Lifelong Learning UK, for qualified teacher learning and skills (QTLS) status. (This is like the outcome of a newly qualified teacher's first year, rather than the qualified teacher status achieved at the end of a compulsory initial teacher training programme.) And FE lecturers are not able to teach in schools with QTLS (or a diploma or certificate to teach in the lifelong learning sector), as qualified teacher status is required.

Where is the logic in a separate set of teaching qualifications for the same curriculum?

Mr Fletcher was quite correct to call for a coherent and integrated 14-19 phase, but this call extends beyond funding.

Dr Tanya Ovenden-Hope, Associate dean and head of secondary and further education studies, University of Plymouth.

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