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Baroness Ashton of Upholland moved Amendment No. 307:

(a) is a qualified teacher, or
(b) satisfies specified requirements."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 308 to 308A not moved.]

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Baroness Ashton of Upholland moved Amendments Nos. 309 and 310:

    Page 81, line 1, leave out "subsection (1) or (2)" and insert "this section"

    Page 81, line 7, leave out subsection (5) and insert—

"(5) A requirement of regulations under this section may, in particular, relate to—
(a) the possession of a specified qualification or experience of a specified kind;
(b) participation in or completion of a specified programme or course of training;
(c) compliance with a specified condition;
(d) an exercise of discretion by the Secretary of State, the National Assembly for Wales, another specified person or another person of a specified description.
(5A) Regulations may limit the period of time during which work may be carried out by a person in reliance on subsection (1)(b)."

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 310A not moved.]

Clause 129, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 130 [Requirement to be registered]:

Baroness Ashton of Upholland moved Amendment No. 311:

    Page 81, line 19, leave out "129(2)" and insert "129(1)(b)"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 130, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 131 agreed to.

Clause 132 [Provision of education]:

Baroness Sharp of Guildford moved Amendment No. 132:

    Page 82, line 13, at end insert—

"( ) Regulations made under subsection (1)—
(a) shall not prohibit the provision of education by a person employed full-time who does not have a specified qualification for two years after taking up a first appointment in a further education institution, provided that person embarks on a course leading to such a qualification within that period;
(b) shall not prohibit the provision of education by a person employed part-time who does not have a specified qualification for four years after taking up a first appointment in further education, provided that person has embarked upon a course of study leading to such a qualification within that period; and
(c) may make different provisions as to the specified qualifications and other matters for those engaged in the provision of education on a part-time basis from those engaged full-time.
( ) In determining the qualifications to be specified under subsection (1), the Secretary of State shall have regard to the extent to which the qualifications match the standards laid down by any body recognised by her as being responsible for determining the competencies required for persons providing further education."

The noble Baroness said: The amendment relates to Clause 132 which deals with the qualifications for teachers in further education. This is a probing amendment designed to establish the Government's intentions in regard, first, to the utilisation of the power to make regulations, which spell out the

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specifications mentioned in paragraph (a) of the current clause; and, secondly, the qualifications to be recognised.

Many teachers in further education, both full-time and part-time, are recruited directly from employment in relevant manufacturing, service and other areas. Some of them have teaching qualifications, but others are without qualifications. Some of those teachers will have acquired a first level teaching or training qualification such as the City and Guilds 730 Further Education Teachers Certificate. At present, anyone moving into teaching without a qualification is often advised to take that certificate as a first step towards a teaching qualification.

In November 2000, the noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, announced the Government's decision to introduce a requirement for training for further education staff. Recognising that it would not be feasible to introduce such a prior qualification requirement for all employees, the Government decided that individuals recruited to teach would be required to hold, or to work towards and achieve within a specified time, a recognised teaching qualification appropriate to their role.

Unqualified full-time and fractional teachers were to be required to gain a university Certificate of Education, or equivalent, within two to four years—two years for full-timers and longer for those on fractional contracts. Unqualified part-time teachers not on fractional contracts were to be required to achieve the City and Guilds certificate. All courses leading to a further education teaching qualification were to be based on what were then the Further Education National Training Organisation's (FENTO) standards, which will now be moved into the sector requirement.

As currently drafted, paragraph (a) of Clause 132 would appear to allow no exemptions from a requirement that teachers possess a specified qualification. Similarly, it is not clear that it allows the specification of different qualifications for different groups of staff. Although paragraph (c) appears to allow regulations containing different requirements, it is by no means clear why paragraph (a) is necessary if its provisions can be modified by regulations made under paragraph (c).

If paragraph (a) were to be implemented without modification, recruitment into further education of individuals with industrial, commercial or professional experience would become impossible in many instances, as few already employed in those areas would be able to undertake a part-time course leading to a teaching qualification while remaining in full-time employment. Even a Certificate of Education (FE) course might, typically, involve one day a week of study over two years or the equivalent, and there would be no incentive for a current employer to permit release; nor is it likely that many individuals would be willing to leave full-time employment to pursue a full-time course in order to become qualified. The flexibility to acquire qualifications in service is in consequence vital to maintaining the recruitment of

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the skills, knowledge and experience required to deliver the relevant high-quality learning in many technical and vocational areas.

Equally, paragraph (a) does not differentiate between full-time and part-time staff. For many colleges, part-time staff play a crucial role in providing skills in specialist areas where it would be uneconomic to employ a full-time teacher. For many individuals teaching is undertaken as an additional source of income or to widen experience and skills without necessarily any intention of making a career of teaching. Insistence on a full teaching qualification for such individuals would make it impossible to recruit in many of the areas of most importance to employers. As the Government previously recognised, a lower qualification, such as the City and Guilds, is in many respects more appropriate and an acceptable requirement for such staff.

In consequence the flexibility both to provide teacher training in service and different teaching qualifications for different groups of staff is vital if the range and variety of college provision is to be maintained. Clause 132 makes no reference to the agreed FENTO standards. It would permit the Secretary of State to recognise a range of qualifications which may bear no relationship to them. While the noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, made clear the Government's intention to use the standards as the basis for defining qualifications, inclusion of a statutory commitment to take account of that work would provide reassurance that there would be no subsequent erosion of them.

Amendment No. 312 seeks an assurance that the policies previously announced, which took account of the sector's operational needs, can and will be reflected in the regulations made under the clause. The accompanying policy statement gives some indication that that is the case, but I would like reassurance from the Minister. I beg to move.

Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for moving the amendment, which she identified as a probing amendment on the thinking behind this important clause. I am also grateful for the way in which she identified the main outlines of the Government's proposals to improve the qualifications of staff in further education.

The thinking behind the clause is to provide adequate time for people employed in further education to achieve the required standards. The implication is that the timescales are for people at work in further education. Therefore opportunities for meeting—as the noble Baroness rightly said—the great demands of both work and study, can be accommodated within that framework rather than people being required to hit the standard before leaving their previous employment, which might be too arduous.

The noble Baroness will recognise that we are eager to raise standards in further education. She mentioned that there was no direct reference to the Further Education National Training Organisation, but I

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assure her that the timetables set out in the regulations were established on its advice, as the standard-setting body for further education. For a full-time teacher, the qualification must be obtained within two years of a place becoming available, and for a part-time teacher, within four years. That is the burden on part-time staff, particularly those with other current employment.

The problem with the amendment is that it would relax those requirements further. I recognise the noble Baroness's concern with the burdens on staff entering the profession. However, she will also recognise that the concern about the time-scale within which staff become adequately qualified must be balanced with the rights of the students to expect that the staff who are delivering education to them are properly qualified. Staff should be qualified in their own subjects and in teaching practice. It is reasonable to expect that staff who do not have such qualifications should become qualified at the earliest opportunity. I suppose that in tabling this probing amendment the noble Baroness is asking whether we have the time-scale right and of course I shall insist that we have.

We provide support from the Standards Fund through the Learning and Skills Council to cover the costs of teacher training and the staff-cover costs for the institutions involved. New staff can therefore be released from teaching duties in order to gain the qualification. I note in feedback from some colleges that new teachers may be under exceptionally heavy pressure in the first year of teaching. All who have ever been involved can remember the experience and how demanding the first year was. The dual demands of preparation for all classes from scratch, combined with the workload for the teaching qualification, can place a heavy burden on a new member of staff.

However, we believe that the remedy lies in the hands of the colleges. Good employment practice by employers would see reduced teaching hours for new further education staff, as for school teachers, so as to ease the burden of preparation in the critical first year of teaching. That is the kind of good management practice we would expect from any employment where managers are concerned to see that the staff perform ably and enhance their competencies. I confirm our intention that the existing regulations will continue in force, subject to minor modification for clarification purposes. At this stage, we do not plan significant changes to the time-scales.

I recognise and share the concerns of the noble Baroness, Lady Sharp, about the issue, but we want to improve the standards of teaching in further education where, as she will know, a high proportion of staff are unqualified in either their subject or in teaching practice. There is a major task to be undertaken. We cannot expect to produce dramatic changes overnight, but nor can we approach the situation in a tardy manner, resulting in students being taught by staff less qualified than we all expect and they have the right to demand. I hope that with that explanation I have reassured the noble Baroness.

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