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Re-accreditation announcement due

Teachers should find out within weeks if they are going to have to go through a process of re-accreditation - Scotland's version of the "licence to teach" which is due to be introduced in England this year.

Teachers should find out within weeks if they are going to have to go through a process of re-accreditation - Scotland's version of the "licence to teach" which is due to be introduced in England this year.

The Scottish Government is expected to announce its plans for an independent General Teaching Council for Scotland towards the end of next month, when it should also confirm whether mandatory re-accreditation is on the cards.

In its consultation over the new-look GTCS last year, as well as asking for thoughts on the size and composition of the council, the Government floated the possibility of the GTCS introducing "a system of professional re-accreditation, in which evidence of teachers' professional development might play a key part in confirming that they have kept up-to-date with good practice and maintained professional standards".

In England, all newly-qualified teachers will be given a licence to teach from September and will face the prospect of being struck off and sacked if they fail their check-ups.

The licensing scheme will be extended to cover every teacher in the country over the next few years.

The possibility of re-accreditation was a "key issue" facing the profession in Scotland, concluded the GTCS at a recent council meeting.

Should it become a reality, Scotland's version of the licence to teach would "adopt a sensitive and positive approach which recognised the quality of its teachers and built on their entitlement to support", it said.

GTCS chief executive Tony Finn said: "We are not attracted to the system of relicensing of teachers that was recently announced in England. Rather we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to devise ways of maintaining and improving the already high standard of teaching in Scottish schools."

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was looking at a range of ways teachers' skills could be "maintained and improved".

Scotland's largest teaching union has "serious reservations" about the introduction of a system of re-accreditation, said a spokesman for the Educational Institute of Scotland.

"We recognise that this is likely to be on the agenda of an independent GTCS. However, before meaningful discussion can take place on this, significant improvements in PRD (professional review and development) systems and collegiality would be required."

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