Sector Skill Council and Professionalism Journal
30th May 2012
Total Words 1669
My role in the lifelong learning sector
In my position as a workshop trainer at Deerbolt young offenders’ institute, the education I deliver for The Manchester College as part of their Offender Learning is supported, monitored and shaped by various professional bodies.
The purpose of these bodies or sector skills councils vary however they all have a common goal in ensuring and enriching the quality of education being delivered.
LSIS or the learning and skills improvement service are such a body who umbrella over every organisation that delivers qualifications throughout the country, and they do exactly what they say on the tin. LSIS improve quality, participation and increase standards in education and training. A lot of their work involves developing resources, implementing schemes, sharing delivery aids that improve quality and achievement and tailoring support to learners needs.
“Colleges and providers helped by LSIS improved by one inspection grade at their next inspection.” (LSIS [ND] [online])
LSIS don’t just support the educational improvements though; in 2010 they recognised The Manchester College as a Healthy FE college, healthy initiatives offered throughout the college like loyalty cards, gym memberships and better eating schemes aimed to improve the health of students and staff.
Another group that oversee our work as teachers is the professional body the IFL or the Institute for Learning. Their role is to register everyone practicing as a teacher or trainer in FE on to their database. They promote themselves as supporting professional excellence; they aim to increase the status of teachers as professionals, requiring a membership fee and proof of qualifications which is supported by the employer.
They also champion the importance of CPD and require members to provide evidence of this and their teaching hours each year. This is seen to keep standards of teaching high, and promote quality and teaching as a profession.
Until very recently this is how the IFL worked but due to the loss in government funding and teachers reluctantly to pay their own subscription the number of people renewing their subscription to the IFL fell by over half to just 85,000 signalling a loss of confidence in the body and an end to its presences.
For many teachers and trainers in FE it was seen as a welcomed downfall as many believed the IFL did nothing for them, however now this professional body has collapsed there is no one regulating the qualifications or standard required to teach in FE which may lead to competiveness for jobs and or poor standards of teaching and training. These developments seemingly leave only Ofsted in place to assess the quality and standards of colleges and the individual teachers.
“Ofsted would be made responsible for ensuring that FE teachers were appropriately qualified through inspections” (TES [30/03/2012] [Online])
However I see a huge flaw in this method of assessing quality and knowledge, not every Ofsted inspector can have the depth in knowledge of every subject of every teacher he or she is going to observe. For example if I am teaching bricklaying and I’m teaching unacceptable practices how is that inspector meant to know I am teaching the wrong methods? Surely the only way to overcome this problem is to have employed properly qualified teachers and trainers and not just people with some subject knowledge. Now that the IFL is a voluntary body the employers themselves have discretion over this matter.
Construction Skills is another organisation that oversee and support the vocational training we deliver in offender learning. They are a massive organisation and have a lot of different strands from...