One size will not fit all (1 of 3)

February 3, 2011

The Higher Education Academy's consultation on the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning recently closed. The review was undertaken in part because take-up of the current standards framework has not been entirely successful. However, we believe that the changes suggested will make engagement with the standards framework less, not more, likely.

The proposed changes conflate the sector-owned Professional Standards Framework with the HE Academy Fellowship Scheme, through which the HEA intends to implement the framework. These elements must be kept distinct. Some universities may accept HE Academy fellowship as evidence of meeting a standard, but for others it might be more appropriate to develop evidence specific to a programme, mission or professional body - which the current framework allows.

The proposed framework is much longer - eight pages rather than one - and very much more prescriptive than the current framework. A good framework respects an institution's autonomy to implement the standards in a way that meets its particular needs. The proposed version is unlikely to increase take-up. Overall, it is a missed opportunity, but still retrievable.

Julie Hall and Mike Laycock, Co-chairs, Staff and Educational Development Association

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