Monday, 7 December 2009

LLUK draft National Occupational Standards for Learning & Development: IfL Consultation

This blog details IfL’s initial thoughts in response to LLUK’s review of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Learning & Development (click here for LLUK web page summarising the review to date).

Key changes proposed by the review:

  • Current suite of 32 Standards has been consolidated to a new suite of 16 Standards
  • The new Standards have been written to provide flexibility in their use and can be combined in different ways to represent different job roles
  • It is proposed that there are two distinct internal verifier qualifications and external verifier qualifications respectively (now providing coverage of quality assurance of entire programmes not just assessment)
  • It is proposed that a new qualification be developed for trainer/assessors

The draft NOS for Learning & Development can be downloaded here, or direct from LLUK’s website here. The proposals for developing Learning & Development qualifications from the NOS can be downloaded here, or direct from LLUK’s website here.

The review and consultation process was brought to IfL’s attention too late for us to canvass the views of teachers, trainers and assessors before making our response. We have, however, used our knowledge and understanding of the issues teachers, trainers and assessors face to make an interim response to LLUK and have urged that the review process is extended to allow sufficient time for professionals in the field to have their say through their professional body.

We would like to hear from you, either by commenting on this blog or email your thoughts to (clearly marking your email NOS Consultation).

IfL’s interim response:

LLUK’s work on the NOS for Learning & Development was brought to our attention this week. IfL is not able at short notice to comment on both NOS and qualifications using the online forms. We have, however, summarised our initial thoughts below and look forward to hearing how LLUK would want to work with the professional body for teachers, trainers tutors and assessors - ensuring standards development and the conferral of QTLS and ATLS professional status sit well together.

The Learning Delivery NOS were not available through the published link for direct comparison, so it is not possible to see how the two sets of standards interrelate and facilitate progression within a single framework for professionals working in teaching, training and assessment. There appears to be no relationship between the proposal for Learning & Development NOS and the professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers. Given the recognition that there is significant overlap in the ‘roles’ of teachers, tutors and trainers and that of assessors this is an area of some concern.

IfL would welcome greater clarification on the relationship between standards for teachers, tutors and trainers and standards for assessment and verification, indeed it would like to see these articulated in a way that allowed for clear progression for professionals working in further education and skills.

The proposal presents an underpinning ‘typical training cycle’ for professionals working in Learning & Development, this seems to have no obvious relationship to the architecture for teaching and training professionals, set out in the professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers and in the development of Preparing to Teach, the Certificate to Teach and the Diploma to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (P/C/DTLLS) qualifications. IfL would welcome simplification of related national occupational standards, in order that there is greater clarity of role definitions and a seamless model for progression and professional development.

With the development of Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills status and Associate Teacher Learning and Skills status, there has been much progress in terms of the articulation of teaching, training and tutoring roles across the sector. It is not clear from the proposal how the current requirement for trainers to be appropriate qualified and registered with the Institute for Learning will be facilitated by the new learning and development awards.

The proposal does not set out how the Learning & Development framework relates to the P/C/DTLLS suite of qualifications. This is absolutely critical as the role of ‘trainer’ or ‘advanced trainer’ is often co-terminus with the role of ‘teacher’ or ‘lecturer’ in many FE contexts. IfL would not welcome any unforeseen consequences in terms of the dilution of professional status or role tension as a result of role conflicts being created by not joining up the work on Learning & Development standards and qualifications with the direction of travel set out in Equipping our Teachers for the Future.

IfL would welcome clarification on the process through which the roles of ‘trainer’, ‘advanced trainer’ and ‘learning development manager’ were defined and how these relate to the current understanding of the role of trainer in the wider FE and skills context.

In conclusion, if there are to be separate national occupational standards for Learning & Development (training and assessment) and Learning Delivery (teaching, training and tutoring), IfL would need to see how the resulting qualifications map together, critical for IfL’s leadership on the conferral of professional status. Having not been involved in the consultation and revision of standards in either case, it is difficult for IfL to provide the critical feedback needed to ensure the standards provide an appropriate qualifications framework for teaching, training and assessing professionals, leading to fair and equitable access across the sector to QTLS and ATLS status through Professional Formation.

IfL would welcome a bi-lateral discussion with LLUK, focussing on the development of standards and how these fit within IfL’s remit to confer professional status on teachers, trainers, tutors and assessors. Given the constraints of the timeline for this consultation, IfL would welcome the opportunity to discuss the strategic and operational consequences of the approach to standards that is being proposed.