A cross-sector working group has been set up to establish requirements and pathways for College lecturers to register with and be regulated by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
Registration and regulation is seen as an important step in acknowledging the professionalism of lecturers and their ongoing commitment to professional learning.
This initiative follows the College sector National Joint Negotiating Committee settlement agreement in 2017 which stipulated within its terms and conditions that 'Linked to our joint review of future workforce requirements, lecturing staff in our workforce for the future will require professional registration similar to GTCS. Requirements for such registration will be agreed and in place from 1st April 2019.'
Established in 1965, GTCS is the world’s oldest self-regulating professional body for teaching and currently has over 75,000 educators on its register. Of this number, over 400 are College lecturers in the Further Education category.
The working group includes representatives from:
A frequently asked questions document, including the benefits of registration with GTCS, is available on the GTCS website to support College lecturers and managers with questions about the work of the group. This will be regularly updated.
The working group has agreed to ensure the distinct identity of the College sector is reflected in any registration and regulation arrangements. It has also recognised that registration will be phased over a number of years to reflect the wide range of backgrounds and roles that lecturers in colleges bring to the sector.
With this in mind, as a first stage, voluntary registration for College lecturers will continue and those seeking to register at this stage will require to have a TQFE. Arrangements for lecturers who do not currently have a TQFE (or currently possess an equivalent to TQFE) and wish to register are being discussed by the group, and more information will follow.
It is believed that registration will raise the status and standing of lecturer professionalism, enhancing professionalism of the lecturing workforce of the future. Lecturers will also benefit from the wide range of services currently offered by GTCS.
In addition, the Professional Standards for College lecturers will be managed by GTCS.
"We think it is fundamentally important that anyone directly involved in the learning and teaching of young people and adult learners in Scotland's Colleges are registered and regulated by the General Teaching Council for Scotland."
"Registration and regulation gives the public reassurance about the existing quality and standards of lecturers and teachers. It also reaffirms their ability to engage fully with the complexities of education and to be key actors in shaping and leading educational change."
"Finally, it would deliver a renewed commitment to ongoing lecturer-led career long professional learning and development, supported through high quality professional review and development, and individual self-evaluation against the Professional Standards for lecturers."
"We already have a number of lecturers registered with GTCS and we look forward to increasing that number over time and in partnership with Colleges Scotland and EIS FELA."
"We are fully supportive of professional registration for college lecturers and have been working in partnership with key stakeholders to take forward its implementation."
"This is a great step forward for the sector which will ensure that all teaching staff in colleges are professionally registered and ultimately enhance the quality of provision available to students across the country. The registration will be delivered through a phased approach and will ensure that the college workforce capacity is further enhanced."
"EIS-FELA welcomes the opportunity to participate in this Joint Working Group with Colleges Scotland, GTCS and the Scottish Government to develop a bespoke registration model for college lecturers which will embed support for career-long learning and development opportunities for all lecturers in the sector."
"Professional registration of College lecturers has been a long standing policy of EIS-FELA as we believe that College lecturers deserve the professional recognition which registration brings and the acknowledgment that teaching in a College requires a body of knowledge and the development of skills and experience to deliver vocational and academic qualifications to a wide range of learners."
Any lecturers interested in finding out more should contact GTCS at www.gtcs.org.uk or speak to their individual College or trade union representative.