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Revealed: the ideal teacher

Consultants' pound;4m study will lead to new framework outlining expected standards for staff, reports Nicolas Barnard

GOVERNMENT officials are planning to set out the skills and knowledge teachers should have at every stage of their career - from initial qualifications through threshold to headship.

The new framework would be part of the Department for Education and Employment's attempts to beef up professional development - the unsung second strand of its performance pay reforms.

The news came as ministers released the long-delayed report by management consultants Hay McBer, which tries to define what makes an effective teacher.

The 234-page report weighs in at 1.156 kg - that's 2lb 7oz for older effective teachers - but Hay admits it contains little that should surprise most teachers since its findings come from talking to the profession. Its summary reassuringly concludes: "Teachers really do make a difference."

It is reputed to have cost pound;4 million though neither the DFEE nor Hay will confirm the "commercially sensitive" figure. Early findings were used to help set the standards for the new performance pay threshold.

The report outlines the 16 professiona characteristics of effective teachers and the seven techniques they actually use in the classroom (see box left).

The 16 professional characteristics - ranging from inspiring trust in pupils to teamworking with colleagues - are set out in a "dictionary", illustrating levels of performance staff should aim for at each career stage.

"If as a young teacher you aspire to be an outstanding teacher, this will tell you at what level outstanding teachers operate and give you a way of assessing yourself against that," said Frank Hartle, who led the project.

But Hay says it does not want clone teachers; there were plenty of mavericks among the 180 it interviewed and observed. And staff will not need to be outstanding in all areas at all times.

A version of the Hay McBer report, "Research into Teacher Effectiveness", is due to appear today at www.dfee.gov.ukteachingreforms

EFFECTIVE TEACHERS

Have high expectations

Plan lessons well

Use a variety of techniques to engage pupils

Have a clear strategy for pupil management

Use time and resources wisely

Use a range of assessment methods

Set regular homework

Source: Hay McBer

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