Profession set for six stages of skills

All teachers are likely to be channelled into a six-stage framework for updating skills and knowledge 12 months from now when the mandatory extra 35 hours a year of continuing professional development is finally introduced.

The ministerial review group, whose findings are due to be released in the new session, has agreed a CPD structure that takes teachers from the start of their careers into a lifetime of continuous renewal of teaching skills that may include rising to chartered teacher status or gaining a post in management.

The group has responded to union concerns about over-prescription by suggesting that schools and local authorities have the freedom to revise the framework. However, most are likely to run with the structure that dovetails with the four new professional standards on initial teacher education, probationers, chartered teachers and headteacher training and the seven key areas in 'How good is our school?', the self-evaluation kit.

As anticipated, all teachers will have a yearly CPD plan agreed with their line manager and be expected to maintain their own record of professional development, which could extend to the two previous years. "An eligible CPD activity is anything that has progressed, assisted or enhanced a teacher's professionalism," the group says.

Teachers will be asked to maintain an "accurate and comprehensive record of significant professional development activities", including their dates and duration, and spell out "any significant outcome or impact on professional practice".

The CPD plan should be agreed at an annual professional review meeting and set out targets and activities for the forthcoming year. "These activities will address the teacher's strengths and development needs," the group suggests.

The six-stage framework begins with probationers, moves on to main grade teachers and then on to further ways to develop teaching and learning that can build towards chartered teacher status. A parallel stage takes aspiring staff into early management processes. Beyond that, there is the Scottish Qualification for Headship and then a catch-all stage of lifelong learning designed to include senior managers.

In their CPD record, main grade teachers could explain how they have developed new materials, helped raise attainment, improved assessment or the ethos of their classes or school and used new technology to better effect.

Ministers believe the framework can be used by teachers for self-assessment when preparing for a professional review and as a means of tracking their own development. Managers will be able to use it as a basis for discussion with their staff and CPD planning.

The review group believes the yearly meeting should recognise good performance and make clear to teachers that they are valued and appreciated.

"The process should have a positive impact on morale and serve to encourage teachers to reflect on their good practice and to share this with colleagues," it says, optimistically.

CPD OPTIONS

Activities that could be included, according to the review group:

* attendance at in-service courses

* membership of school committees and task groups

* visits to other schools

* lesson observation and analysis

* secondments

* educational research

* mentoring colleagues

* curriculum planning

* working with parents

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