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Reasons for master's-level profession questioned

The outgoing president of School Leaders Scotland has questioned whether the drive to make teaching a "master's-only profession" in Scotland is backed up by evidence - or merely aping what happens in Finland.

Neil Shaw, who was expressing a "personal concern", said the country was "in a period, by general consent, in which the quality of new teachers entering the profession is at a higher standard than ever before".

He questioned whether there had been "any major piece of research undertaken to support this proposal or is it linked, heaven forfend, solely to the Finnish model?" Speaking at the SLS annual conference in St Andrews yesterday, he said: "We all know, albeit perhaps anecdotally, that not all of our best teachers have the best academic qualifications."

Mr Shaw said SLS welcomed the recent report by the National Partnership Group, taking forward the Donaldson review of teacher education, with a few exceptions.

One related to the emphasis on leadership, as well as coaching and mentoring as part of CPD and PRD (professional review and development). "Little account seems to have been taken of the potential workload issues, and therefore financial implications surrounding these proposals," he said.

New GTCS standards were well received within SLS, particularly those on development of leadership skills, which it was hoped "may go some way" to addressing problems with recruitment and retention of senior staff.

Of the Cameron report on devolved school management, he said: "The proposed new guidelines will have as much impact on (inequity of funding to schools) as a damp squib, but could lead to a more appropriate commonality among delegated schemes. We will wait and see."

henry.hepburn@tess.co.uk.

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