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Question time on chartered status

From application procedures to accreditation of prior learning, Myra Pearson, depute registrar for education at the General Teaching Council for Scotland, spells out the details of the new chartered teacher programme

The General Teaching Council for Scotland has argued for many years that it should have a key role in the creation of a framework for continuing professional development for teachers. The acceptance of its arguments by Scottish ministers in January this year ensures there will be national standards and consistency of provision in the chartered teacher programmes.

The Scottish Executive's document A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century confirms that chartered teachers will gain an academic qualification of a Master's degree provided by approved partnerships and the professional award of chartered teacher conferred by the GTC Scotland.

Teachers will be able to choose a career route that will allow them to stay in the classroom, promoting high quality education and learning, rather than moving on to a management path.

The Standard for Chartered Teacher will form an integral part of the new continuing professional development framework, with the council accrediting programmes and modules and conferring the professional award of chartered teacher.

How do I apply?

Application forms, along with a leaflet explaining the first steps to be taken, were posted to 67,000 teachers' home addresses in May, with the application form also available to download from the GTC's website ( Posters were also placed in every school in Scotland.

What happens after I have made my application?

Once the application is received, the GTC's CPD unit will verify eligibility, seeking confirmation from the local authorities or employers on salary placement. The council hopes to have completed the application process by the end of June.

Once eligibility is confirmed, an information pack will be issued. It will contain:

* certificate of eligibility

* online password verification form

* instructions on maintaining a professional development logbook

* information on how to embark on the chartered teacher programme

* approved modules and providers

* information on accreditation of prior learning

* how to apply for chartered teacher status and

* useful contacts.

The packs will allow teachers to make an informed decision about the most appropriate route towards achieving the standard.

The GTC is committed to providing quality support and guidance and these will be key features of all the council's information about the Standard for Chartered Teacher.

What goes into the CPD portfolio?

There has been some confusion surrounding the content of the CPD portfolio and it should be made clear that the portfolio for entry to the chartered teacher programme is not the same as the portfolio for making the full claim for accreditation of prior learning. Further explanation of this will be clearly outlined in a leaflet soon to be issued by the GTC.

Information in a CPD portfolio for initial application to the programme should contain professional development activities applicants have been involved in over the past few years. This should include evidence of how these activities have impacted on work with pupils and colleagues, as well as impacting on classroom expertise.

Evidence of a teacher's own learning should also be included.

What are the routes to acquiring chartered status?

Ways of becoming a chartered teacher are outlined in the leaflet already sent to teachers and are also available on the GTC's website.

Everyone must complete module one, and thereafter must choose one of two routes, either: l the programme route, with three further core modules, four option modules and one or two work-based projects, or

* the accreditation route, with a portfolio submitted and commentary showing how the standard has been maintained and achieved. The process of preparing the claim will have support at a local level. Information about APL will be the subject of another leaflet available on the GTC website in late June.

All assessment for modules and projects will be completed by the chosen provider. Only the assessment of a claim for accreditation of prior learning will be dealt with by an independent national panel of assessors approved by the GTC.

Can you tell me more about accreditation of prior learning?

The GTC is committed to giving credit for prior learning and will undertake to ensure there will be a rigorous and fair procedure in place for every full claim made.

The work required to submit a full claim, if the accreditation route is chosen, will be fairly significant and it is expected that it would take about six months to complete.

Teachers have shown concern over what will count towards APL. There will be no automatic transfer of credit from previous postgraduate qualifications.

All teachers will be required to show how their learning has impacted on their classroom practice and the work of their colleagues. Further details will be available in late June.

When will the chartered programmes be available?

From August. The programmes will be accredited by the GTC in June and a list of approved providers will be published on the GTC website, also in June.

What will they cost?

Whether a teacher follows the route to chartered status through a programme provider or opts to make a full claim for accreditation of prior learning through the GTC, there will be costs. Payment for the stages are clearly set out.

The programme providers will set their costs: approximately pound;600 is the average for a module.

The cost of a full claim for APL is set at pound;1,200. This covers support offered locally for teachers preparing a claim and for the independent assessment. This figure does not include the payment for module one, which is the compulsory module for all teachers making a claim for chartered status, either through APL or by following the programme route.

Payment for the chartered teacher programme is the responsibility of each teacher who applies: the programme is entirely self-funded. Every time a teacher satisfactorily completes two modules on the programme they will receive the recognised and agreed enhancement in salary, until completion and the final salary placement.

What is the GTC's new role?

The GTC is pleased to place itself at the heart of this new era for Scottish education and takes its role in the Standard for Chartered Teacher very seriously.

It recognises that ensuring the quality of the teaching force in Scotland cannot be based solely on rigorous scrutiny at the start of a teacher's career. It welcomes the new powers afforded to it and its role as regulator for professional standards for teachers throughout their careers.

The GTC is all about raising, maintaining and driving forward high standards of profession-alism and so it makes sense that the council will be the accrediting, administrative and awarding body for the new and exciting grade of chartered teacher in Scotland.

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