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Recognition for collective

Concerned about the future of the qualification, chartered teachers have created their own association.

Chartered teachers have set up their own association to give themselves a voice and better representation - but have been warned not to indulge in "special pleading".

One of the founder members, Annie McSeveney, said chartered teachers were concerned about the future of the qualification.

The Government had held a review of the programme, but there had been no chartered teachers on the review group, she pointed out.

"If we had had an association, I don't suppose this would have been the case," Ms McSeveney said.

A likely outcome of the review was a revision by the General Teaching Council for Scotland of the standard for chartered teachers.

"We are required to maintain the standard in our work, so we would like to be represented if this happens," she added.

The inaugural meeting of the association on Saturday, at the headquarters of the GTCS, attracted 55 chartered teachers, although many more registered their interest.

Its steering group plans to make the new organisation open to those on the route towards chartered teacher status as well as those who have already gained it.

Ms McSeveney, a spokeswoman for the steering group, added that issues relating to continuing professional development often came up and the association could have a role in developing CPD that was suitable for chartered teachers.

Tom Hamilton, director of educational policy for the GTCS, reported to the meeting that chartered teachers believed engagement in postgraduate studies, and research in particular, had had the greatest effect in the development of their classroom practice.

But chartered teachers also encountered barriers to their contributions: a lack of understanding on the part of school managers and local authorities of their role; the hierarchical structure of schools which militated against class teachers generating ideas and initiatives; and a wariness on the part of managers to place "demands" on chartered teachers which could be interpreted as "illegitimate".

The new association could provide a collective voice and generate positive publicity for the role of chartered teacher, Mr Hamilton said. But it should ensure it provided a wide view and not indulge in "special pleading", he added.

He also quoted Ed Balls, the Westminster Education Secretary, who said last month his goal was for "all teachers to achieve a Masters qualification", a move strongly supported by Matthew MacIver, registrar of the GTCS.

Mr Hamilton said: "Various European countries are already moving that way, and England is now catching up. Chartered teachers are in the vanguard of this movement."

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