On one issue there is virtually uniform acceptance by the Scottish Executive, teachers' associations and the local authorities - that accredited prior learning (APL) will count towards an individual teachers' placement within the CT salary scale.
After reading and responding to both consultation documents and attending one of the meetings with the CT consultation group, it is clear that the route which will enable teachers to demonstrate possession of APL is completion of module 1 of the proposed programme.
The CT salary scales are due to start in August next year. In order for teachers other than assistant principal teachers and senior teachers to be placed on the scale at this time they may well need to have completed module 1. Clearly then their efforts on module 1 will probably need to have started several months prior to August next year. This is a very tight time-scale.
Teachers are entitled to ask that mechanisms are established to have their APL evaluated in ample time for being placed on the CT scale as of August next year. The whole purpose of the CT grade is to improve retention of existing staff, to promote further recruitment and to foster the idea of teaching as a first choice career for graduates.
The best way to achieve this is for prospective new entrants to see a contented profession with a high level of morale. Teachers who are left waiting to access CT salary levels will feel only betrayal, certainly not that they are being encouraged or rewarded. Any delay will be seen as a cost-limiting exercise.
It is the duty of all parties to the 21st century agreement to prevent such a situation arising and ensure that the CT scale is accessible in substance in August 2003.