I see from a recent a issue of the TESS that Kezia Dugdale has proposed bringing back the Chartered Teacher scheme:
“What I am proposing is not hugely dissimilar from the chartered teacher scheme we used to have. I think it’s important to have more opportunities for teachers to develop their careers. That has been stifled in recent years by taking away heads of departments.”
Obviously, as a participant in the Chartered Teacher programme, I’m a big fan of it. I think there were issues with its introduction, but I believe that a lot of these issues were addressed in the revised standards.
However, despite fixing many of the issues with Chartered Teacher with the new standards, these weren’t given the time needed to bear fruit before the programme was scrapped. I fear that any resurrection would eventually suffer the same threat. The fundamental problem is that many school leaders aren’t keen on a process whereby employees can self-select their way onto a higher pay grade. Whilst I understand the reasons for the way in which the programme was set up, I can also empathise with those in the position of having to lead and manage schools on a tight budget. Rather than simply resurrecting something which has already failed to continue, perhaps we should be looking for something a little different which better meets the needs of all parties involved.
How about instead of resurrecting the Chartered Teacher scheme as was, we introduce a new promoted post pay grade into the SNCT Salary Scales. It could be called Chartered Teacher still, or something else such as Principal Teacher Learning. The fundamental difference to the prior scheme would be that this would be a promoted post in schools which teachers could apply for, just like any other promoted post except with a couple of key differences:
- An essential requirement for the post would be a relevant Masters degree.
- The post would carry a whole-school broad remit related to the leadership of the development of learning and teaching approaches across the school/cluster.
From a teachers’ perspective, this would mean that you could undertake a Masters degree with the intention of securing one of these posts which would justify the cost of the Masters study. From the employers’ perspective, school leaders would be able to recruit and select candidates who have undertaken Masters level study for a clearly defined post. There are already a number of schools creating these sorts of posts and they may benefit from a more clearly defined structure when doing so. In fact, I suspect the creation of this grade would encourage many more schools to appoint teachers to these sorts of roles, and crucially, really make use of the posts to drive forward learning and teaching in their schools.
Whilst I can already envisage the criticisms to this approach, I think that this would be a much more sustainable way forward. It might not be as pure as the original scheme, but at least it is more likely to be accepted by Head Teachers and Local Authorities which would mean that it might actually be able to continue this time.