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Trainees fit for schools and FE

A course to help teachers who want to work in schools and further education is being piloted by Canterbury Christ Church College. The college hopes that it will provide a blueprint for a new cadre of teachers for the Government's post-14 curriculum plans.

It is one of eight universities running training courses for 245 teachers of the new vocational GCSEs, which pupils will sit for the first time next year. It is also trying to ensure that its dozen trainees acquire at least some of the skills needed to teach in FE.

The one-year art and design course will give people the flexibility to work across schools and colleges. At present, staff with qualified teacher status can work in FE, but college lecturers with post-16 qualifications accredited by the Further Education National Training Organisation are not qualified to work in schools with younger pupils.

The Government plans a more flexible post-14 curriculum, giving pupils the chance to study vocational andor academic subjects in school, college or the workplace.

But many FE teachers are worried about teaching younger pupils, while many school-based teachers feel unprepared for vocational courses.

Andy Armitage, Canterbury's head of post-compulsory teacher training, said:

"We are working on whether the 14-19 initiative needs a teacher with new skills. We are developing a postgraduate certificate of education for 14-19."

He envisages a single qualification for school and FE.

Some schools are employing Canterbury's FE-trained teachers for vocational courses, and putting them through the graduate programme to qualify as teachers, said Mr Armitage.

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