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Capital careers' special status

The Government's proposals for a new chartered London teacher status have been given a qualified welcome by the School Teachers' Review Body.

The scheme is designed to encourage good teachers to stay in London and aims to re-establish the idea that those working in the capital are at the peak of their careers.

To qualify for a one-off payment of pound;1,000 and gain the extra recognition involved, London teachers would have to demonstrate their achievements in pedagogy, subject specialism, whole-school issues and "diversity, cultures and communities".

The Government wants to launch the scheme in 2006. However, the review body wants the equivalent status to apply to teachers outside London who face challenging circumstances. It also wants it renamed, as chartered status has a particular meaning in other professions.

The proposals met with a mixed reaction at White Hart Lane school in north London. Kim Beatham, head of year 11, said: "If there are reams of paperwork involved I won't touch it. I have enough of that already."

But she did consider the status was justified: "I don't think people always recognise that teaching in London requires special skills. As a head of year 11 I have to do far more than people outside London. A large part of my job is dealing with the problems that refugee children have."

David Daniels, the headteacher, who doubles as an Office for Standards in Education inspector, disagreed. "London is not the hardest place to teach in Britain. I have seen schools in the North-east, for example, where children think education is completely irrelevant. The children here, who have come from abroad, see education as a way up and out."

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