Counting and dividing: half the #pcthe cohort enter with AP(E)L

The new PCTHE cohort is significantly different to those of years previous. There are 43 on the register. Of these 22 – just more than half – are eligible to enter with AP(E)L for 20 (out of 60) credits at level seven. They arrived with QTS and/or Associate membership of the HE Academy and/or a willingness to write a reflective statement demonstrating their attainment of the objectives of the first module through experience. I observed last year that it appeared the numbers of people arriving with APL might be increasing and that this stood to reason. This year APL has been realised as a significant factor in our programme. This will change the balance of our teaching programme. The first module, “Learning and Teaching in Higher Education”, will only have 22 enrolled. The second module will have 42 people on it. At this point only one person has stated an intention to do the first module only. Experience suggests that as the semester progresses several more will step down to a slower route, doing the single module this year and the double module next. This has implications for an outdated HR policy of making the PCTHE a condition of probation for new academic staff. We (the course team) are opposed to the PCTHE being a condition of probation. There is too much going on. Yes, make it a contract condition that they complete the programme in the requisite three years. Maybe make the Associate course (module one) mandatory in year one. But the full PG Cert is a significant effort which, with all the other pressures on new staff, seems in some cases un-necessarily harsh. There is a catch 22 also. Some schools give new staff time off teaching to do the PG Cert, but then they do not have enough teaching to qualify for the programme. Constructive alignment with policy and procedures is far more difficult than with intended learning outcomes, activities and assessment!

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