There is policy and reality. Why can't we bring the two together?

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16 May 2015 by ATL
Dual professionalism was meant to leap the chasm of teacher practitioner and industry expert.

However, it did not spell out what ‘industry expert’ means or even attempt to develop what such a professional pedagogic practice would be. There was no core expertise developed that would announce what a dual professional would do differently from a lecturer teaching A levels, for example. This is why ATL and UCU submissions to CAVTL raised the concerns of vocational lectures around ITT and CPD.

One of the major difficulties we have in the FE sector is that whatever 'dual professional' might mean in policy terms, in contracts it is subject to variation. For example, an employer defining a contract for 'dual professionals' (teachers to you and me) or an employer implementing a single contract for all staff?

Who is the ‘expert’? How do they claim for their particular needs as against the needs of all others in the workforce? Are all roles subject to the futile strategy of workforce casualisation? Are all framed by a HR model of a compliant employee professionalism?

The point is, there is policy and reality. Why can't we bring the two together?

These wider tensions that need working on if we are to develop dual professionalism. But, as was noted by the architect of dual professionalism in the seminar, Lee Davies (ex IfL Deputy CEO), the concept was not properly thought through and there was not enough buy in from the employer’s side in terms of workforce development (eg lack of engagement with IfL CPD) to develop it further.

I do not think the diverse views and interpretations of dual professionalism broke down in the discussion so fundamentally that we cannot develop a new VET practitioner identity (there is a sense ‘we know what we want’), but the tensions were clear about how to go forward in a coherent way.

Dual professionalism is a banner we can march under, but right now, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking it is anything more than that.

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