Cost of gaining charter status

Union wants to scrap scheme, report Derek Bellis and Karen Thornton

Becoming a chartered teacher in Wales could cost pound;1,500 and take two or more years, according to draft proposals being put to the Assembly government.

The General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW) is hoping 250 experienced classroom practitioners, subject leaders and department heads a year will enrol for the new status, which it wants to pilot from September 2007.

But teachers' union the NASUWT Cymru has reiterated its opposition to the proposals, and accused the GTCW of straying beyond its key remit of registering and disciplining teachers.

In draft advice to the Assembly government, the GTCW proposes two routes to becoming a chartered teacher: a taught programme, and accreditation based on a portfolio of evidence.

The portfolio could cost up to pound;1,500, based on the current cost in Scotland of pound;1,200 which is expected to rise.

But the GTCW's draft advice "strongly recommends" that the Assembly should fund the scheme nationally - at pound;2 million a year - to ensure there are no financial barriers to applying. Preparing and presenting a portfolio could take as little as 12 months, but completing taught courses would usually take at least two years.

Teachers with five or more years' service would be eligible, and there would be a maximum of 1,000 in the chartered teacher system at any one time.

Geraint Davies, secretary of NASUWT Cymru, said: "Chartered status is not needed in Wales.

"We have NQT and induction standards for new entrants, and threshold standards for those who have spent a good time in the classroom. This will generate nothing but extra work."

The GTCW would set national standards for chartered status, and provide guidance and criteria for training courses. But training providers would be left to develop programmes and seek accreditation for them. Subject to a two-year pilot, the chartered teacher programme would roll out nationally from September 2009.

The scheme would be entirely optional. Teachers would get recognition for their professional development - but no extra pay. In Scotland, chartered teachers earn pound;38,013 compared with pound;31,008 for unpromoted classroom teachers on maximum pay.

Administering a national programme of professional development for chartered teacher status would be "core work" for the council, as a professional body, and it would absorb certain costs.

Mal Davies, chairman, told members at last week's GTCW meeting at Llandudno Junction, that standards for leadership and classroom practice were being established.

But council member Tim Cox pointed out that 250 candidates a year represented less than 1 per cent of the teaching profession in Wales.

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