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Call for chartered teacher review

Directors should have a say over who enters the programme and be prepared to pay, argues their new president

Directors of education want more control over who becomes a chartered teacher.

In return, they would be willing to contribute to the costs of teachers going on the programme in the same way as education authorities pay fees for those studying towards the Scottish Qualification for Headship.

The move has come from Bruce Robertson, the new president of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland. He said the current approach had to be reviewed. At present, teachers decide whether they want to aim for chartered teacher status, either through a university route or by accredited prior learning which short-circuits the process by recognising past experiences and achievements.

Speaking at the annual conference of the association in North Berwick last week, he said the Scottish Executive's new "teachers for excellence"

initiative should be able to draw on chartered teachers so that new recruits to teaching could get "the best possible advice and classroom leadership".

Mr Robertson, who was one of the advisers to the McCrone committee, whose report led to the national teachers' agreement, said he was not convinced the original principles which created chartered teachers, based on rewarding experienced teachers who chose to stay in the classroom rather than opting for management, were still relevant.

"I suggest, therefore, that a review of the chartered teacher scheme is initiated to ensure we are addressing not only the professional and financial needs of chartered teachers themselves, but also the national and local need to establish teachers for excellence," he said.

Mr Robertson added that employers had little say over who entered the chartered teacher scheme and what they did once they successfully completed it. "In no other walk of life would employers have no say over who entered such a programme," he said.

"The first time we are actively involved is when they get their pay reward.

We should review the complete package, and I would be quite happy to review whether we should pay for completing modules. It should be a quid pro quo: there is huge talent out there we can't afford to let slip by."

Ronnie Smith, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said his union agreed teachers should not have to pay the cost of the chartered teacher programme, but he did not support regulation or control by employers in any way. "This would strike at the heart of the concept,"

he said. "Knowing that it could be rationed at the behest of someone else would be fatal to it."

Matthew MacIver, chief executive of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, said the chartered teacher programme would be reviewed in 2008 as part of the teachers' agreement review.

"It has been successful to date and has been of enormous benefit to the professional development of nearly 350 teachers, now fully qualified chartered teachers."

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