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Chartered debt

TROUBLE is brewing over the cost of the new chartered teacher programme compared with the Scottish Qualification for Headship. When the post-McCrone agreement confirmed that teachers could aspire to salaries of pound;35,000 without leaving the classroom, there was a new wave of optimism in the profession.

That first flush is long gone, as teachers have begun to realise they will need to fork out more than pound;7,000 for a course of 12 modules and some say they can't afford to. Small wonder that teachers at last week's union conferences were aggrieved by the unfairness of paying for their own CT courses while their colleagues on SQH courses enjoy the sponsorship of their authority.

How long can that situation continue? Funding for the qualification for headship beyond 2005 is uncertain, with course leaders saying they need to hear from Victoria Quay by November. At the same time, the General Teaching Council for Scotland in its new role as co-ordinator of all professional development is preparing to set the standard not only for chartered teachers but also for heads, and to put details of courses and providers for both on its website.

Are we really to have a situation where teachers making career decisions have to choose between (a) paying thousands to train as a chartered teacher, and (b) paying nothing to train as a school manager? Reading between the lines, it is difficult to imagine that the two routes, co-ordinated by the same national body, would continue to run on such different lines.

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