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So what do you think?

Creators of a website for thinking teachers accept it could expose them to criticism

The Scottish Executive today officially launched an online Teachers for Excellence initiative, intended to support its Curriculum for Excellence.

Hugh Henry, the Education Minister, outlined the thinking behind it in an article for this week's TESS (p22). A website is being established to allow teachers to influence thinking, a move candidly regarded in official circles as a risky exposure to potential criticism of executive policy.

"This is an open debate," Mr Henry writes, "with no pre-conceived ideas about the outcome. I want constructive and thought-provoking, but honest debate. We need to know how teachers think."

Key thinkers have kicked off the discussion, including Terry Dozier, an American expert on teacher leadership, who was an education adviser to former United States president Bill Clinton and has visited Scotland on several occasions. "Don't underestimate the time and investment needed to help teachers become leaders," she said.

Meanwhile and coincidentally, Falkirk Council has launched a "leading teachers" scheme this week as a key part of its strategy to improve attainment in its secondary schools. It will be piloted between now and June 2008, backed by academic support from Stirling University. Eight teachers in four of the council's high schools - Braes, Denny, Larbert and Bo'ness - have been selected to support and coach teachers in their own and other schools.

The carrot is a pound;1,000 fee, a reduced teaching load and recognition for their work which could give them a head start in applying to become a chartered teacher or school manager.

* www.teachersforexcellence.co.uk

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