Sunday, 6 January 2013

2013: All Change for FE in Scotland

As a member of the Pedagoo community and as a user of twitter as a PLN, I read many informed and passionate writings on pedagogy and the structures that it is practiced within. I refer, of course, mainly to the compulsory education system, a system that employs the vast majority of teachers in Scotland. I have followed with keen interest, both the Donaldson Review of Teacher Education, and latterly the McCormac Review of Teacher Employment. I am, however ,employed within the FE sector, a system anomalous from the compulsory sectors in several ways, for example:
  • It is not a mandatory graduate profession
  • It is not a mandatory registered profession
  • It is has been driven by a deeply flawed funding model (the student unit of
    measurement) SUMs equate to approximately 40 hours of study, weighted to reflect the different costs concomitant with running a variety of courses.
It is, however, charged with almost all of the functions of the compulsory teaching profession.

I have campaigned dilligently that we in FE should be granted the same professional status as all other teaching practitioners. This would, I believe, provide a more seamless transition for learners throughout their education and engender a higher degree of public confidence in the FE system

Further education has had its own share of reviews in the past two years, namely:
  • The Review of Post-16 Education and Vocational Training in Scotland; click to access
  • Putting Learners at the Centre: Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education; click to access
  • Report of the Review of Further Education Governance in Scotland click to access
These three reports have now brought about the most profound shake up of further education in its history, and we now embark on a programme of regionalisation that will have far reaching consequences for the learners and employees of these new entities once established. It should be noted that many of the suggestions made in these reports could have been addressed by the incumbents of the system rather than the profession having to be subjected to such a huge seismic shift. A new funding model based on 'outcomes' will come into force and The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) lists the priorities for the regional outcomes as follows:

Outcome 1 Efficient regional structures:

To deliver efficient regional structures to meet the needs of the region

Outcome 2 Right learning in the right place:

To contribute to meeting the national guarantee for young people, meeting the demands of the region, and where appropriate the nation

Outcome 3 High quality & efficient learning:

To ensure that learners are qualified to progress through the system in both an efficient and flexible manner

Outcome 4 A developed workforce:

To ensure learners are qualified and prepared for work and to improve and adapt the skills of the regional workforce

Outcome 5 Sustainable institutions:

To secure, well-managed and financially and environmentally sustainable colleges

Colleges have been supplied with a template from the SFC that provides more detail and can be viewed here:

Unlike the reviews of compulsory education, the solutions to the troubled landscape of FE are not to be found by addressing and questioning what we do in the classroom, but rather by employing a fiscal overhaul and keeping fingers crossed!

Change should offer the prospect of improvement, and in such a process care should be taken to address the core purpose of our endeavours; exercising our professional practice in such a way that our learners acquire a desire for knowledge and appreciate the benefits that a quality education has to offer. Ultimately, engagement is the key to the future of our learning and teaching approaches. Such engagement can only become a reality if our colleges truly embrace development in the way that we continually press our learners to do so. The desire for pedagogical improvement must be manifestly at the centre of everything we do, driven by our values, and led assiduously by senior staff.