Increased involvement with the FE sector in 14-19 education will have an impact on the way schools organise their CPD. CPD Update looks at the latest proposals for CPD in the tertiary sector.

When the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) became the Training and Development Agency (TDA) its remit was limited to schools. This has meant that planning for 14-19 has to cross two sectors and that there is no single body that can deal with both secondary and tertiary. Nevertheless, those sectors will have to work together, with collaboration in professional learning crossing the school/FE boundaries. It would be useful, therefore, for leaders of CPD in schools to be aware of the latest proposals for CPD in the FE sector. In the box, right, we list important points for CPD from the recent white paper Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances.

Response from the IfL

The Institute for Learning (IfL – www.ifl. ac.uk) is the new professional body for teaching practitioners in post-compulsory education and training. It is currently establishing the database that will support the registration of teachers and award of QTLS from September 2007 and designing the professional development framework associated with the maintenance of a licence to practise. It welcomed the white paper’s focus on CPD. Its Professional Development Strategy Group has made the following recommendations:

  • the teacher should be at the centre of the CPD process, taking responsibility for reflecting on practice and identifying development needs
  • an annual tariff will be required for demonstrating good standing but this needs to respect the context teachers operate in, often reflecting on their professional practice over periods longer than 12 months
  • there needs to be a balance between formal and informal CPD activities and any mandatory requirements associated with registration, relative to the needs of the teacher at that point in time
  • definitions of appropriate CPD activity should be developed, including levels where appropriate, and offered as a model of good practice for the sector
  • the recording and monitoring of CPD should be facilitated by the IfL’s membership database, with teachers maintaining an evidence base (portfolio, CPD log, on-line record etc).

Response from the Teacher Support Network

Patrick Nash, chief executive of the Teacher Support Network (www.teachersupport.info), welcomed the proposal that teachers in FE colleges receive at least 30 hours of CPD a year, but he commented: ‘We believe professional development must not be delivered outside of timetabled hours, and also that any CPD must take into account the personal development needs of individual FE teachers.’

Comment
The clear recognition by government of the value of CPD is to be welcomed. The notion, however, that professional learning can be confined to a number of hours is something that will require careful thought. There are professions where, in order to maintain your licence to practise, you must complete and record such a number of hours of CPD. As a result the quality and significance of the learning become less important than the need to achieve the target number. Furthermore, there can be a tendency to believe that professional learning only takes place in the hours allocated to it.

Nevertheless, the point made by the Teacher Support Network that professional development in FE should not mean extra hours provided by the individual rather than the college is important. We must hope that the IfL and others trying to influence events will be watchful on these issues.

Relevant points from the white paper

Supporting workforce development

‘Support for teachers and trainers to continue to develop and improve their practice is crucial to ensuring learners receive effective teaching tailored to their needs. We want to create, within the framework of the Quality Improvement Strategy, a well qualified workforce and a sustainable culture of professionalism, and to enable staff to improve and update their skills continuously.’

Reforming initial training

There will be ‘an “Initial Award” (or ‘Passport to Teaching’), Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills [QTLS] status, and the establishment of Centres for Excellence in Teacher Training, which will boost the professionalism of the sector’s workforce.’

There will be ‘part time programmes with integral teaching placements and mentoring support. We will fund accelerated intensive training routes through summer schools for returning teachers, teachers wanting to move into Skills for Life, and vocational teachers.’

Improving professional development and introducing a new CPD requirement

‘Initial teacher training needs to be reinforced by continuing professional development. The best colleges and providers already prioritise the development of their workforce, but we must ensure the same happens everywhere and establish a more effective national structure to support that.

‘In September 2007 we will introduce a regulatory CPD requirement, applying to FE colleges, supported by a national CPD framework and guidance. We will consult on the arrangements for its introduction, including how to address national priority areas such as science and the early specialised Diploma lines, based on our intention to require:

  • all teaching practitioners to fulfil, at the very least, 30 hours of CPD a year, with a reduced amount for part time teachers, and with similar expectations of managers and leaders
  • colleges and providers to draw up development plans for CPD, including in preparation for the introduction of the specialised diplomas and Train to Gain
  • teaching staff to maintain a portfolio of CPD that shows evidence of industrial/subject updating, including membership of appropriate professional bodies, development of skills in subject teaching, including the effective application of e-learning techniques, application of diversity and equal opportunity principles, and use of learner feedback to improve performance
  • teaching practitioners to be professionally registered in order to maintain their licence to practise.’
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