Teaching in further education
There are many reasons why teaching in further education (FE) is a rewarding and fulfilling job. If you are someone is seeking a career in a lively sector, where every week is different from the last, then teaching or training in further education is the ideal profession for you.
There is a wide variety of roles in teaching and training roles across FE. Currently there are over 350 general FE and sixth-form colleges, work-based training providers, adult and community learning providers and specialist colleges.
There are also over 1,000 private and 200 public training providers with 11 per cent of higher education in England being taught in FE colleges.
In short – FE is all around you
Having so many different training providers means that there is a range of teaching and training opportunities available. Courses offered in the sector range from accountancy, art, bakery, English, history and mathematics, through to retail, tax and yachts and navigation.
In other words, almost every academic and vocational subject you can think of – can be found in FE and taught at a range of levels.
To teach or train in the sector, you need to have expertise in your subject or vocational area in addition to a commitment to helping learners, be they young people or adults.
In vocational areas it is generally expected that further education teachers or trainers will have a suitable trade qualification. However, strong practical and up-to-date experience is highly valued by FE providers and not holding a qualification in your area of expertise should not deter you from pursuing a career in teaching.
Generally teacher training and getting qualified occurs in-service. This means that once you have secured a role as a teacher or trainer you can then enrol on a teacher training course on a part-time basis.
Find out more about jobs in the FE and skills sector via IfL's jobs board.
Courses can be completed at college or university, and your employer may be able to support you with paying for some or all of your training. There are three levels of teacher training qualifications:
- Level 3 Award in Education and Training (12 credits)
This introductory, knowledge-based teaching qualification has no minimum teaching practice requirement, meaning it can be undertaken by individuals who are not in a teaching role.
- Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training (36 credits)
This qualification is suitable for individuals who want a qualification which focuses on practical teaching or are currently teaching and want to have their experience and practice accredited.
- Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training (PGCE, CertEd) (120 credits)
This qualification provides training for those individuals who aspire to, or hold, a teaching role with an extensive range of teaching or training responsibilities, including those in more than one context.
After gaining your certificate or diploma in teaching you can gain the post-qualification professional status of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS).
QTLS is recognised in law as having parity with QTS for teaching in schools as a recognised qualified teacher.
Funding for initial teacher education consists mostly of student loans.
There is some good news however. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has recently announced bursaries for graduates wishing to teach mathematics, English and special educational needs (SEN).
Unfortunately, the bursaries are only available to teachers pre-service (ie. before stating a teaching or training role), rather than those who wish to undertake their training while carrying out a teaching role.
IfL is keen to see a parallel scheme that provides the necessary training and development opportunities for existing teaching and training practitioners, including apprenticeship assessors.
Resources to support new teachers and trainers
As the professional body for teachers and trainers, IfL supports the development of those new to the sector.
We have developed a number of resources and benefits to assist trainee teachers and those looking to further their training and skills.
IfL maintains a register of ITT/E qualifications. This register is for awarding organisations and higher education institutions (HEIs) to register details of the initial teacher training qualifications that they award, and their delivery centres. All qualifications on the register will be quality assured to ensure they meet the required standards. The fully searchable register is available to assist those looking to undertake an ITT/E course in finding a course to suit them.
A range of ITT qualifications delivered by awarding bodies and higher education institutions before the introduction of the FE teaching qualifications in 2007 were endorsed by Standards Verification UK (SVUK) as meeting the requirements of the "overarching professional standards for teachers, trainers and tutor", also introduced at that time. These are known as legacy qualifications and are listed in the table of legacy ITT qualifications.
Some of these qualifications are easily identifiable as being those deemed to be equivalent to either:
- Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS). For example, any of the stage 1 or introductory qualifications
- Certificate to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTLLS). For example, any of the stage 2 qualifications, or
- Diploma to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS). For example, any of the Cert Ed or PGCE qualifications.
If you hold either a DTLLS equivalent or CTLLS equivalent qualification, you are eligible to undertake professional formation towards QTLS or Associate Teacher Learning and Skills (ATLS).
In some instances, the qualification equivalency is not so easily identifiable and you may be required to provide supporting documentation to show the level; credit value; teaching practice duration; and evidence of observation of teaching and learning, in order to be eligible for the professional formation process.
It has been developed to show the relationship between pre-September 2007 qualifications and the mandatory units of the new classes of teaching qualifications introduced since PTLLS, CTTLS and DTLLS.
An information and advice service is also available from the FE advice team for those interested in teaching in further education.
This service offers advice and guidance on ITT courses and training.
To contact an FE adviser, call 0300 303 1877.