Lecturer training 'not top spending priority'

January 29, 1999

The government needs to think more about its green paper pledge to ensure that all college lecturers become fully qualified teachers, education minister Tessa Blackstone said this week, writes Phil Baty.

Launching a new standards framework for training college lecturers this week, Baroness Blackstone said: "It is far too soon to talk of all further education teachers getting qualified teacher status within five years."

This appeared to contradict the commitment made by the colleges' national training organisation, Fento, to ensure that all lecturers become fully qualified "early in the millennium".

Baroness Blackstone reiterated the target, set in the Learning Age green paper, to ensure that "all new full-time or substantial part-time teachers in further education should hold, or begin, a recognised teacher-training qualification within two years of appointment."

But she warned: "We do need to do some more thinking."

The minister confirmed fears that money was tight. She hailed the government's provision of an Pounds 80 million standards fund for 2000-01, but said the money would be widely spread and that professional development was not the top priority.

"We are discussing the exact use of the standards fund money," she said.

Although training for lecturers and principals was "one of the key activities" for the fund, there were other priorities such as bailing out failing colleges. Individual lecturers should make more of a commitment to self-improvement, she said.

"Insufficient attention has been paid to the development of pedagogic skills," she said. "We must provide a culture of continuing self-improvement."

Fento's framework, the Standards for Teaching and Supporting Learning, marked a "change in the status and professionalism of FE lecturers".

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