No bar to chartered status

Ministers are set to run with a modular and largely academic approach to chartered teacher status which will eventually offer salaries of up to pound;36,000 to classroom specialists.

Around 34,000 experienced teachers will be eligible to apply once courses begin next autumn, provided they can present an up-to-date folio of continuing professional development and are prepared to take on the extra commitment, some of it out of hours.

The ministerial group on chartered teachers will release details in the new session and is set to back the initial scheme proposed by a specialist project group that has already been through substantial discussion.

Leading figures in the General Teaching Council for Scotland have pressed for greater emphasis on classroom practice and experience in the programme but ministers, supported by local authorities and the Educational Institute of Scotland, are prepared to launch one of the most significant changes to the structure of teaching on the basis of the original plans.

They are keen to stick with their schedule of introducing pathways to the status in a little over 12 months and feel they have made enough concessions. They will stress that the 12-module programme to full chartered status is based on classroom practice and that providers of modules will be instructed to emphasise school-based work.

Credit will be given for prior learning where it is deemed appropriate and for teachers who can show they have developed classroom practice. "Accreditation mechanisms will be developed to ensure fairness, consistency and rigour," says the ministerial group. Entry to the programme will be open to 34,000 teachers at the top of the main grade, including senior teachers and assistant principal teachers, who have maintained their portfolio of CPD. They would have to start that next month.

"Where a CPD portfolio has not been maintained, the individual's schoolline manager will be entitled to refuse to support the prospective candidate's entry to the programme," the group states.

But schools and authorities would have to justify any refusal. There will be no interviews or classroom observation as such for entry. Emphasis will be on the portfolio, to be used to assess any claim for prior learning and individuals' commitment to CPD and their role as a "reflective practitioner".

Starting-point on the six-point chartered scale will depend on previous experience and learning, with one increment added for every two modules.

The jolt for teachers is the prospect of shelling out perhaps up to pound;1,000 for the first two modules. The first increments should cover the cost of the training, it is argued.

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