I don’t know what to write about following a read through this week’s TESS. Should it be Fiona Hyslop’s thoughts on the Chartered Teacher programme, or the continuing discussions surrounding aCfE and the exam reform plans.
Given my current time pressures (only 7 days to Module 1 deadline!!) I’m not sure I can even manage a coherent discussion on even just one of these! However, I don’t think I can really let the CT article pass without a mention.
I wasn’t able to make it to the CT conference, but it sounds as if the Minister made these comments there. She was responding to the Report of the Chartered Teacher Review Group, published online on the same day as the comments were made. The review group made a number of recommendations:
– That the GTCS should, in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, review the SCT and the CT modular route format.
– To be eligible to embark on the CT scheme a teacher must be at the at the top of the main grade pay scale, be fully registered with the GTCS and have maintained a CPD portfolio, which itself must include robust, validated evidence of good classroom practice. The GTCS will issue guidelines on the construction of a portfolio.
– All stakeholders should actively promote the CT scheme.
– All providers should review and re-submit their programmes to the GTCS to ensure that an appropriate proportion of validated school based evidence is a requirement of the programme.
– Headteachers should continue to discuss and agree with CTs, and those following the modular programme, the duties from Annex B of TP21 that they should perform. These tasks should be appropriate to their sector, experience and related to the SCT.
– Headteachers should ensure that CTs are allowed to link their CT modular work with their annual 35 hour CPD activities.
– The Scottish Government should take steps to routinely capture information on the impact of CTs in school. This should cover impact in its broadest possible terms and include the views of colleagues, pupils and parents.
– A teacher who embarks on the CT scheme should inform their Headteacher of this.
– CTs and those working towards CT status should ensure that their portfolio is benchmarked against the SCT for the purposes of the PRD process.
– Local authorities should ensure that locally agreed procedures are in place to ensue that schools monitor, as with all teachers, that their CTs are continuing to meet the SCT.
– The GTCS should close access to the accreditation route in 2008 as originally planned but also ensure that arrangements are put in place to assess those participants currently on the route within a stated timescale.
Obviously, there’s a lot in here – too much for little old me to digest! One aspect that does catch my eye however is the recommendation that the entry criteria be strengthened to include “a CPD portfolio, which itself must include robust, validated evidence of good classroom practice.” I appreciate that this has come from the variety of portfolios reaching the GTCS, but in many ways isn’t this the point of module 1? I do hope that this doesn’t go too far. Yes, you should be a good teacher prior to embarking on the course – but why would I be paying hundreds of pounds to learn how to gather robust and valid evidence if I already knew how to do this!?!
Ms Hyslop’s reaction is of much more consequence than my own. She expressed “frustration and disappointment” with the report and is pushing for senior colleague endorsement for entry to the programme. She also states that CTs should regard their status as a “school-wide” resource, not purely a personal accomplishment. I’m not sure what the outcome of the first of these suggestions would be. Would they merely check/validate that you are a “good teacher”? Or would they form some sort of quasi-selection process? If so, would I have been allowed to embark on this? By what criteria could someone bar you entry to this self-funded Masters programme??
I find the second of these most perplexing. By the very nature of the Masters programme, one must become a school-wide resource. This is partly due to the standards themselves, which require a contribution to the whole school. But this is also driven by the nature of the course work and discussions which follow from it. Since starting the course I have been extremely motivated to become a school-wide resource, and I’ve not earned one penny extra for my efforts yet. And before you say it, I am not alone. I have yet to meet a CT or someone working towards CT status who sits in their classroom with a smug smile of satisfaction on their face. That is not the nature of the people who fork out both the time and money to complete the course or in the nature of the course itself.
Obviously, these opinions stem from my own limited experience. Please feel free to correct/enlighten me…