Issues of Wider Professional Practice and Professionalism

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Issues of wider professional practice and professionalism

In this assignment I will be examining some of the main issues I believe impact on teachers’ professional practice and I will look at the way they impact on my employer Inclusive Access (IA). IA is a social enterprise independent specialist training organisation in the Post compulsory education and training (PCET) or Lifelong Learning Sector (LLS).

I will attempt to show how some of these issues impact on individual teachers in the organisation and the impact on a teacher’s professional image and status.

I will go on to state that the political and economic landscape make it very difficult for organisations like Inclusive Access and for freelance tutors to meet the professional standards required when compared to other PCET organisations in both FE (such as colleges) and HE (such as universities).

In conclusion to this assignment, using some of the current influences and changes in government direction and policy, I will reflect on the way I can improve my own wider professional practice and that of my team in my area of responsibility.

As Training Manager at a social enterprise there are wide reaching pressures on the organisation that impact on our practice as professional teachers in LLS and on the organisation as a professional training body. In fact these pressures are currently on the whole education system.

The political economic social technical, legal and environmental (pestle) factors impact greatly on the question posed for this assignment as we enter possibly one of the most challenging phases for education and particularly PCET in last few decades.

At IA there are recurring issues affecting the professionalism of the courses run, the professional nature of the teachers and support staff employed, and the values underpinning the company’s social aims. For example, funding is ever harder to source and the funding streams accessed are varied and fluctuating, originating from a number of sources. This can lead to inconsistency of provision and fitting the courses to the fund rather than the learners thereby impacting on our perceived professionalism. Another example would be the “rules” on pots of funds from the public sector creating demands for more learners on courses, impacting on class size, or selecting people for courses based on numbers - not suitability, which in turn impacts on drop out rates and dissatisfied learners, potentially affecting our perceived professionalism.

There is a move towards contracts being payment by results to drive value for the public purse. This could force smaller organisations like our own, who are less cash and asset rich out of the market. However, on the positive side, it does mean a culture of collaboration (that has not existed for some time) is being resurrected, which in my view is a good thing. In the long run this should raise standards of outcome and a more seamless journey for learners to experience through the LLS.

During the development of PCET from the 1980s until present, it is evident that teaching in post compulsory education had to keep up and look beyond today towards the future requirements of the skilled workforce of the future. Further and higher education has become more regulated and scrutinised in a bid for it become better placed to meet the needs of learners and employers. Indeed in the evolution of FE and the LLS during the 1990s saw great change driven politically with economics at its heart, FE teachers contracts were changed, strikes, funding centrally severed so the new regime shaping the way PCET is delivered today and the view of the professional status of teachers in this sector. Shain, 1999 in her research paper said then that “Teacher’s work in the UK Further Education (FE) sector is undergoing reconstruction through processes of “marketisation and managerial control”. I would agree with her and can see that this process is even more evident today,...
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