February 23, 2010 05:38 ET

Vocational Teacher Training Needs Radical Overhaul

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2010) - A controversial new inquiry into vocational teaching challenges the assumption that only degree holders make good teachers.

The Skills Commission inquiry published today, which has taken evidence from leading policy makers, regulatory bodies and educationalists, argues that work experience and expertise must be valued to secure top teaching talent for the increasing numbers of vocational learners.

Revealing the discrepancies between teachers of academic and vocational education, the report found that vocational teachers in further education have been relegated to the second division of teaching, often receiving lower wages and status than their academic counterparts in schools. To stamp out this inequality, it calls for the Government to overhaul the system and combine the training regimes of the two sectors to achieve a universal teaching status across 14-19 education.

The inquiry also highlights the need for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Children, Schools and Families to consult on ways to support employer placements for teachers of vocational subjects, ensuring that their subject-specific knowledge is kept up-to-date.

Sir Mike Tomlinson, Chair of the Skills Commission inquiry, commented:

"Teachers of vocational courses in schools are not currently required to have what we believe is essential experience or expertise in the area that they're teaching. At the moment, those who have vast amounts of practical experience but aren't qualified as teachers can only be employed as instructors on a much lower salary in schools.

"If we want the next generation of learners to have the quality of education they deserve and for parents and pupils to be confident that vocational education is right for them, the Commission believes that we have to ensure we value the experience of those wanting to enter vocational teaching.'' 

Other recommendations include the need for extensive research into the methods currently used to instruct vocational teaching, formalising the training of teaching mentors, and improving careers advice and guidance by ensuring that aspiring vocational teachers are fully aware and informed of how to get into teaching and passing on their knowledge.

Peter Mitchell, Education Director of Edge, the independent education foundation which sponsored the inquiry, says:
"There are some harsh economic times ahead for the UK, and now more than ever it is vital that we are equipping young people with the skills they need to succeed – this must start with supporting our teachers. There are many paths to success and as a result there should be no poor relations in the education system. Practical and vocational subjects are just as important as academic and teachers of each should receive the same recognition. 

"I hope that the Government sees the validity in this report and takes the recommendations it makes very seriously – if raising the participation age is to work across the board, we need teachers to be working together in harmony and receiving mutual respect in their profession."

Edge is inviting the general public including teachers, parents and young people, to have their say on education at www.edge.co.uk/haveyoursay ahead of this year's general election.

For further information visit: www.policyconnect.org.uk/sc or www.edge.co.uk

Notes to Editors

About the Skills Commission

The Skills Commission is a panel of distinguished figures from the skills arena. It has a proven track record of informing government policy through its influential inquiries. 

About Edge

Edge is an independent education foundation. It is dedicated to raising the stature of practical and vocational learning, so that all young people have the opportunity to achieve their potential, and the UK's future workforce is equipped with the skills to be successful in the modern economy. Edge believes that 'learning by doing' is as important as academic learning, and that there are many paths to success. For more information visit www.edge.co.uk

Contact Information


Keyword Cloud

View Website