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Review ordered

The education Minister has today ordered a review of the chartered teacher programme.

A flagship element in the national teachers' agreement, it has come in for growing criticism, most recently from the new president of the Association of Directors of Education (page 4).

Bruce Robertson, the education director in Highland, wants education authorities to have more control over who enrols to become chartered teachers.

They are intended to be experienced staff who want to be rewarded for remaining in the classroom rather than opting for management, but headteachers and directors believe they should have a more explicit leadership role in schools. They earn pound;7,000 more than unpromoted teachers on maximum pay.

Also today, the scheme came in for further criticism from Holyrood's audit committee of MSPs. Its report on the value-for-money aspects of the teachers' agreement described the Scottish Executive's knowledge of the chartered teacher programme as "scant".

The report on the agreement from Audit Scotland, which sparked the parliamentary inquiry, said a few education authorities admitted they did not actively encourage teachers onto the programme.

Hugh Henry, the new minister, has lost no time in responding to these concerns, although the timing of the review is allegedly coincidental. He did, however, have his ear bent in early visits to schools in Cumbernauld and Oban. He said in his announcement that the idea of the chartered teachers programme was "fundamentally right". But added that it was time to review whether it was having the desired effect.

"We are committed to developing those teachers who want to hone their skills and stay in the classroom, but I want to review how this is working and whether improvement can be made," said Mr Henry, promising a "short sharp review" rather than a lengthy process.

Consultations would be held with unions and the education directorate.

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