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An institute for chartered teachers

Russell to be handed plan for body to `raise professional development'

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Russell to be handed plan for body to `raise professional development'

Chartered teachers have tabled a proposal they hope can fuse the best of their scheme with the aspirations of education secretary Michael Russell for an all-masters' profession.

They propose an institute of chartered teachers - akin to those for architects, accountants and engineers - "aimed at raising professional development, collaboration and aspiration to a higher level than was possible under the existing chartered teacher scheme".

The Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland (ACTS) even suggests that membership of the body could become a requirement for all promoted posts.

There was widespread consternation last year when the McCormac review of teacher employment recommended scrapping the chartered teacher scheme, but an ACTS statement on the proposed institute is more sanguine.

"The proposal will allow the cabinet secretary to say that he has accepted Professor McCormac's recommendations while also taking on board the concerns of professional bodies, other academics and chartered teachers themselves," it says.

"He can solve the local authorities' issue of budgetary control of salaries and chartered-teacher numbers. He can retain the goodwill of existing chartered teachers and thereby ensure their continued commitment in raising standards in schools, raising expectations of our students and in the practical application of Curriculum for Excellence ideology."

The McCormac review claimed that not all chartered teachers were having the impact they should. ACTS says all 1,385 teachers who had gained that status by December 2011 would have to apply for membership of the institute by providing evidence of meeting the national code of practice for chartered teachers, which would "tidy up" the register of chartered teachers. The 2,935 teachers part-way through the scheme could apply for membership upon completion of a master's degree.

One option for funding those just starting their work toward chartered status could be local-authority money like that put into the Scottish Qualification for Headship, suggests ACTS.

The institute would eventually become self-funding through subscriptions and other sources, but it might need "moderate investment" from the Scottish government initially, it says.

ACTS considers it desirable to follow the example of other small countries, such as Finland, by encouraging experienced teachers to pursue professional development through an accredited, university-supervised course leading to a masters or equivalent award. In this, the association stresses, it shares the ambition of Mr Russell.

Mr Russell told TESS last month that chartered teachers and those en route to the qualification before entry to the programme was frozen last year are expected to be the "trailblazers" for a new master's qualification.

henry.hepburn@tess.co.uk.

Original headline: Proposal for a chartered teacher institute tabled

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