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'We want parity of esteem'

David Hunter, chief executive of Fento

"Post-16 teachers deserve better support and a probationary year with mentoring by experienced colleagues. We want parity of esteem with teachers in schools - that means mentoring, in-service training and a strong continuing professional development programme."

Sue Dutton, deputy chief executive at the Association of Colleges

"We think it's important that the learning and skills sector has underpinning standards because of the need for flexibility across FE and the adult and community workforce. Proper career progression would encourage people - not just teachers but all staff - to enter the profession and stick with it."

John Hedger, former senior civil servant at the DfES, seconded to the lifelong learning sector skills council

"It is neither necessary nor desirable to pretend you can deliver on everyone's concerns. The task is to establish common ground, and you have to recognise that you can't please everyone all the time."

Jonathan Mackey, head of the special projects, learning, delivery and standards group at the DfES

"A big body will give the sector skills council more clout. For a workforce of more than half a million, that's broadly the right territory."

Chistopher Duff, chief executive of the Sector Skills Development Agency

"The impact of training the trainer should never be underestimated. A lifelong learning sector skills council will have a pivotal role to play within the Skills for Business network as its work will obviously underpin the quality of education and training that the other SSCs will be promoting."

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