Teaching tips: meeting the Teachers' Standards
The Tes Institute team break down the Teachers Standards and give advice on how to ensure you meet them.
When trainee teachers first look at the Teachers’ Standards (The Standards) they can seem daunting – a myriad of hurdles that have to be jumped before you can qualify as a teacher. But even once you have gained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), they remain in the background as the minimum criteria by which a teacher is judged in terms of practice and conduct.
So, what are The Teachers' Standards?
The Teachers’ Standards can be defined as: “a clear baseline of expectations for the professional practice and conduct of teachers and define the minimum level of professional practice and conduct expected of teachers in England”
They’re presented in three parts:
- The Preamble: Two sentences summarising the values and behaviour that all teachers must demonstrate throughout their careers
- Part 1: Eight Teaching Standards, each with their own sub headings
- Part 2: The Standards for Personal and Professional Conduct
Stop seeing The Standards as hurdles
The first thing to do is to stop seeing the Teachers’ Standards as hurdles. Instead see them as an aide memoire and part and parcel of every-day practice, regardless of whether you are new to teaching or experienced. Ideally you need to demonstrate that your practice is consistent with the definition in the Preamble and that you are competent in all elements of both parts of The Standards. In order to do this you need to be able to assess yourself and ask others to do the same to help you build a picture of your current level and what improvements you might need to make.
Assess your own practice
The Department for Education has produced a handy one-page sheet on the Teachers’ Standards which you can find here. Use this sheet to assess your own practice. Against each element of The Standards ask yourself `How far do I do this?’. If you scale each element between 1-10 (with 1 being not developed and 10 being outstanding), you will then get a good picture of where you stand.
Ask a colleague to assess you
If you’re an experienced teacher and want to refresh your practice why not ask your colleagues to anonymously complete a 360º assessment for you against the scaled standards. Hopefully, you won’t receive unpalatable news, but if after analysing, you do find differences or confirmation with your own judgements then this will help you to focus on your training needs. It is also a good reference point for professional review discussions.
The Standards in detail
Once you start delving into The Standards you may find that they are not as clear-cut as you think. For example, Standard three asks that you are able to demonstrate a critical understanding of developments in the subject and curriculum area. Try breaking it down into more tangible elements by asking the following questions:
- What steps have I taken to update myself on any new developments?
- Have I considered the implications of these new developments with colleagues?
- How have I used this new knowledge and understanding to feed into my practice and long, medium and short term planning?
By analysing the individual Standard in this way, it becomes clearer what evidence you can produce to demonstrate you meet The Standard.
Identify strengths and areas for improvement
By now you should begin to be able to identify where your strengths lie and which of The Standards you need to improve against. Sharing your reflections with a colleague or school SLT will give you a second opinion on your findings. See if they agree with the areas that you highlighted and ask about any support that they offer to further develop these areas.
Not just for new teachers
Even experienced teachers sometimes need clarification of The Standards and it is always useful to take time out with colleagues to discuss them to ensure everyone has a common understanding. Many experienced secondary teachers, for example, don’t think the elements of Standard 3 relating to early reading and early mathematics apply to them. However, all teachers are expected to have some awareness of appropriate strategies to meet these elements regardless of whether they are primary or secondary teachers. If a number of colleagues lack this awareness, then maybe it is something you should highlight to senior managers so that relevant CPD can be put in place.
Evidencing your experience to gain QTS
If you are working in a school that follows the English National Curriculum and you want to become a qualified teacher, Tes Institute could help you evidence your existing experience against the Teachers’ Standards through our Straight to Teaching programme. This unique development programme supports you to meet the Teachers’ Standards without leaving your current school role and, when ready, provides you with the opportunity to be assessed and awarded Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). To find out more about the Straight to Teaching programme, click here or if you're looking at compiling your evidence to meet The Standards, read our blog here