Education Quandary: 'Why do you have to have a qualification to teach adults?

'Why do you have to have a qualification to teach adults? Won't this simply deter people from sharing their skills?'

Hilary's advice

Since September, all new teachers of adults in colleges and community settings have been required to take qualifications that form part of something called the Qualified Teacher: Learning and Skills framework. All teachers need an Award in Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS), at level 3 or 4, which leads on to the Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (CTLLS), which can be at level 3 or 4. If you're already teaching, your PTLLS can be integrated with your CTLLS in a fast-track version... There's more, but I won't go on. This stuff can make you lose the will to live.

Does it put people off teaching adults? I suppose it must. When I trained as a basic skills tutor, the college had to lay on extra sessions just to show us how to fill in the paperwork; it made me want to hurl down my pen and never come back. On the other hand, a former computer company manager who switched to teaching IT in an FE college says he loved his training and found it made a world of difference to his teaching skills.

Of course standards have to be maintained, but there must be plenty of linguists, plasterers, hairdressers and cooks, not to mention musicians and art historians, who want nothing to do with it. Although, as funding for adult education is being pared to the bone (and that's a scandal), maybe it doesn't matter.

Readers' advice

I, and many others like me, teach computer skills to the over-fifties (on a voluntary basis) at an Age Concern drop-in computer centre. As far as I know, none of us has any special teaching qualifications, or indeed computing qualifications. I certainly don't; I am entirely self-taught.

It is extremely enjoyable and satisfying to do, and it helps the ever-increasing take-up of the internet and computing by the older generation who missed out on learning these skills through school or work.

I hope that your correspondent will investigate further, and find a way to pass on her skill to others.

Rosalind Gleeson, Surrey

Teaching adults is not just a question of passing on skills. It is a profession in its own right.

Just as we do not want our primary and secondary schoolchildren taught by anyone who happens to be able to read or write, or who knows a bit about biology and geography, so we, as adults, should be able to sign up for classes confident that the people teaching them will have a full array of skills.

Melanie Knight, West Sussex

When I go to my weekly Pilates class, I want to know that my teacher is properly trained and that she knows how to tailor what we do according to how much people want to push themselves, or whether they have shoulder or back weaknesses. I went to a yoga class where a girl pulled a ligament so badly that she was on crutches for nearly a month.

Gina Bellavera, Bristol

Next Week's Quandary

Dear Hilary, I believe this country needs a national community service scheme for school leavers, with every leaver doing at least six months' work for the common good. It would be egalitarian, help to foster a sense of society, and get things done. People tell me it would infringe personal liberties, and that it wouldn't work. Isn't it at least worth talking about?

Send your letters or quandaries to Hilary Wilce, to arrive no later than Monday 11 February, to 'The Independent', Education Desk, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; or fax 020-7005 2143; or email Please include your postal address. Readers whose letters are printed will receive a Collins Paperback English Dictionary 5th Edition

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administration Assistant / Apprenticeship Industry

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity for an e...

Recruitment Genius: NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Private Training Provider off...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own