Q: What has happened to the advanced skills teacher grade (AST)? Is the Government still backing this post, or has it become a dead end?
A: The AST grade was introduced some years ago to provide a route for teachers who wanted promotion but did not want to leave their subject or teaching areas and take on full-time management and leadership roles. It has had a somewhat chequered history and has been re-launched on a number of occasions. Its longer-term future may well be bound up with how it is funded. If schools are expected to fund it out of their own budgets, then it may have less attraction than if the Government is prepared to meet part of the costs of such posts in return for ASTs spending a proportion of their time working with teachers outside their own school. It is certainly a fulfilling role and shouldn't be a dead end - even if numbers never reach the levels originally expected by ministers.
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