Professional Development of Lecturers
Each college in Scotland is individually responsible for its own recruitment processes, including the qualifications it requires its lecturing staff to hold or acquire. The Scottish Government recognises that a key strength of the college sector in Scotland continues to be its ability to maintain high standards of professional development across its lecturing staff on a voluntary basis. To date, and unlike the rest of the UK, the Scottish Government has therefore seen no need to introduce compulsory teaching or professional qualifications for the sector.
Overall policy responsibility for the professional development of lecturers lies within the Scottish Government's Lifelong Learning Directorate. Currently, the main relevant policies are those arising from the comprehensive 2004 Review of Scotland's Colleges (RoSCo), particularly the recommendations identified by the Staffing, Learners and Learning Environments Working Group.
These include that colleges should ensure their college staff gain a minimum of six days continuing professional development (CPD) training per year and that they should make arrangements for lecturers to gain appropriate qualifications within specific time-frames. You can find out more about RoSCo and the resulting commitments here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/UniversitiesColleges/17135/RSC
The Teaching Qualification in Further Education
As well as encouraging and supporting the sector to implement RoSCo recommendations, Scottish Government has a statutory role in acting for Scottish Ministers (in consultation with the General Teaching Council Scotland) in approving the content, nature and duration of the degree level Teaching Qualification in Further Education (TQFE), currently delivered by the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee and Stirling.
This qualification is usually undertaken by lecturers post-employment and can be at undergraduate or post-graduate level. Full-time lecturers normally take a year to complete the TQFE, although this can vary according to circumstances.
Professional Development Units and Awards
As well as the TQFE, a wide variety of other non-compulsory, smaller, professional development qualifications are available to college lecturers. These are Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)-approved Professional Development Units, often grouped together into particular Professional Development Awards, which can be delivered in and by colleges to their lecturing staff.
Professional Standards for Lecturers and the FE Professional Development Forum
Many of these Units and Awards were developed out of the 2006 Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland's Colleges. These are occupational standards which set out the minimum professional requirements for all college lecturers in terms of initial teacher training and continuing professional development. The standards were created and are overseen by the FE - Professional Development Forum. This is a strategic and operational group made up of key college practitioners, leaders and stakeholder partners.
The FE-PDF web-site contains information relating to most of the areas mentioned above, including the role of the FE - PDF, the TQFE, Professional Development Units and the Professional Standards. You can access the site at: www.fepdfscotland.co.uk.