A major project to provide a professional recognition scheme for a substantial number of Skills for Life practitioners in England will be launched in late Spring
‘This follows the success of DfES-funded pilot schemes for specialist literacy, numeracy and ESOL teachers carried out by LLUK over the past twelve months.
The Professional Recognition Learning and Skills (PRLS) scheme provides a route for existing practitioners to be recognised as teaching professionals without the formal qualifications that new entrants require to meet the current regulations. Recognised teachers can be counted towards the qualified workforce targets.
LLUK’s Paul Hambley says the project will offer a window to those already in the workforce for whom an initial teacher training programme would be inappropriate while, at the same time, acknowledging that all teachers need continuing professional development. "We have had a situation where some highly skilled individuals, with years of experience in supporting learners, have not appeared to be suitably qualified in terms of current regulations. The PRLS scheme will offer a route for certain experienced practitioners to submit evidence in lieu of qualifications to confirm their status as specialist teachers."
Conferring PRLS is the outcome of a professional judgement by experts and respected members of the relevant community of practice. The evidence provided through a formal application process is reviewed by two adjudicators and a recommendation made to a panel for final consideration.
The recognition process will be open to teachers who are fulfilling the full teaching role in their specialist Skills for Life subject but do not have one or both of the following:
Stage 3 generic qualification i.e. Certificate in Education, PGCE, or FE Teacher’s Certificate or
Level 4 Subject Specialist certificate
and in addition cannot provide current evidence for an APL (assessment of prior learning) process to existing qualifications.
However, Paul Hambley points out that individual circumstances vary and it is important to consider carefully whether to apply for recognition or to take the qualifications route. "Some existing teachers who have gained the qualifications have enjoyed the opportunity to refresh their practice. For others, in particular, those who are on unqualified pay scales, it may be a speedier option to undertake the qualifications to gain the full financial reward available – as the first award of recognised status is unlikely to be until the end of 2006. It is also important to consider the implications of an unsuccessful application."
More information will be available from April 2006. Detailed guidance on the application process will be available from July and applications will be considered from September.’