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Who will teach vocational courses?

MAKING vocational course options available to all post-14 students prompts two key questions - where will the teachers come from to teach them and where will they be trained?

There are big differences in the pay, status and training of schoolteachers and further education college lecturers.

FE lecturers have more experience of vocational subjects, but many do not have qualified teacher status, degrees or experience teaching younger pupils. They are also paid less than teachers, with some starting on around pound;14,250 compared to the minimum pound;17,600 a new teacher can expect. If they moved to schools they would be paid on the unqualified salary scale.

Fento, FE's national training organisation, wants ultimately to develop a unified training system for all post-14 teachers that would include schools and adult education.

Meanwhile, the Teacher Training Agency has set aside around pound;1.1million for 300 places on new QTS courses for secondary vocational subjects, starting in September.

London's Greenwich University is considering bidding to run such courses.

Andy Hudson, its head of secondary education, said: "In secondary training, there is an obvious connection between degree background and the subject taught. There might be an argument that people training to teach vocational subjects may not need degrees."

But an influx of a new type of trainee may create problems. John Trafford, head of teacher education at Huddersfield University, said: "Where are we going to train these people? Schools are reluctant to take placements in something new."

He said schools might poach staff from colleges, although FE teachers could be put off if they had to take a pay cut to work in schools.

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