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Seminar: FE teacher educators

On Tuesday 8 February 2011 there was a seminar at UCU for FE teacher educators: The future of FE initial teacher training & the UCU FE teacher training network

The event looked at current and future issues in FE teacher education, and provide a forum for establishing what members would like from the FE teacher education network. 


Chairperson: Alan Whitaker, UCU President

11.00 Registration and Coffee

11.40 Welcome and Introduction

11.45 LLUK 2nd stage of the Review of Professional Qualifications, Paul Hambley, LLUK

13.00 Lunch

13.45 The future of FE Initial Teacher Training and introduction to the UCU FE Teacher Education Network

Speakers from UCET and City and Guilds, in plenary, followed by workshops (session to include discussion on how UCU should be responding and what members want from the network)

15.45 Plenary: Report back from workshops and summing up, Alan Whitaker

16.00 Close

FE Teacher Training Seminar, 8 February 2011 - Discussion Session

The following points were raised during the afternoon discussion at the seminar:

  • The route from being an associate teacher to become a full teacher was not settled. Advice was being sought from the City & Guilds on this. OFSTED were also seeking further clarification .
  • Figures for FE teacher training were currently good, however, if there was no funding from HEFCE these numbers would collapse. There were currently around 200,000 teachers and trainers who were members of IFL. There were currently around 1500 DTLLS. Most City and Guilds teacher training students currently paid for themselves. The SFA would be carrying on next year's funding of £7.5 million for PTLLS, CTLLS and DTLLS. The funding position for 2012 was not known. The AoC shared concerns about the withdrawal of funding.
  • It was recognised that FE teacher trainers played different roles. The perception of these different roles was in itself recognised as problematical in that it discouraged movement from one role to another. Units of study could be carried across more easily now, although there was a gap between policy and practice in this however. The role of associate teacher was poorly defined. There was a sense that the dilution and creep of roles also needed to be fought at branch level.
  • It was felt that developments in the school sector were often mirrored in the FE sector although the post-compulsory sector was not following schools with regard to developments in professional bodies.
  • There was a strategic parallel with the idea of teaching schools and the move in the NHS to doctors playing a greater role in managing the service generally. It was felt that ministers would step back from their policies on education once they realised the implications of them however. It was also anticipated that there would also be a dilution of the government's initial theories, for example, Gove's preference for new untrained Oxbridge graduates to a trained teacher-trained graduates from other universities as teachers.
  • Tensions in the government's policies towards the FE sector teacher training were noted, for example, subject knowledge and higher level academic qualifications were lauded while there was also a move to a more skills-based system. The education policies of the government were recognised as being not well-thought through and therefore what UCU did would make a difference in this respect.
  • Parallels to the last Tory government's policy on education were noted. If the response by schools was similar to last time, they could be anticipated to be initially keen on the changes but to eventually withdraw from them, while those that went with the changes would form links with universities. Linking with schools would also be the safest option for HE teacher training institutions too as well as forming similar agreements as teachers, for example on partnerships and funding. The FE sector would be nervous about aligning with the schools sector however, due to the threat of schools overtaking colleges.
  • IFL had written to members to inform them that they would have to pay for membership going forward. The IFL was unpopular with UCU members and there were many motions being put forward to UCU's congress on the body. The IFL had not been assisted by college management's interpretation of the IFL changes however.
  • Dan Taubman would email the FE teacher training network to let members know that the FE teacher training seminar had taken place and asking for input into the review of teacher training. Any information which members had to submit to the policy team would be useful, for example in presenting a case to ministers etc.

If you would like to join UCU's FE Teacher Educators' Network, contact Angela Nartey.

Last updated: 29 January 2020