'Bureaucracy' beats 'humanity' as scheme is axed

10th February 2012 at 00:00
The chartered teacher scheme will be missed but will leave a strong legacy

The end of the chartered teacher scheme heralds a resurgence of bureaucracy and managerialism - but its values remain worth fighting for.

That was the most compelling message at the final national gathering of chartered teachers before education secretary Michael Russell revealed details of the scheme's fate yesterday.

The government was expected to axe the scheme, with an announcement due after TESS went to press.

The University of Stirling visiting professor Walter Humes said: "The hierarchical structure culture of Scottish education remains strong."

Last year's McCormac review - which recommended abolishing the scheme - represented "in part at least, a victory of power and bureaucracy over a broad and humane vision", he told the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland at its conference in Stirling.

The supposed weakness of some chartered teachers was an irrelevance, in Professor Humes's view - would all heads or education civil servants impress under scrutiny, he asked rhetorically.

The demise of the scheme was based on financial reasoning, said EIS assistant secretary Drew Morrice at the same event.

"You're bringing value to a system that doesn't value you," he told delegates.

The end of the scheme, he added, would be a victory for "political force" rather than intellectual argument.

Mr Morrice stated that his union would fight for chartered teachers to retain higher salaries for the rest of their working lives.

Placatory noises were made at the conference by Ian Mitchell, deputy director of the Scottish government's learning directorate.

"You're ideally placed to be driving up professionalism," he said, adding that chartered teachers could be "at the forefront" of driving forward national priorities.

But delegates were far from convinced. One teacher recalled the global interest the scheme had attracted, and predicted: "We're going to become a laughing stock."

Barbara Stewart, an East Dunbartonshire secondary teacher, feared that networks of chartered teachers would "shrivel away".

The scheme was a bulwark against a "tick-box managerialism that will destroy Curriculum for Excellence", said Highland secondary teacher Frances McKie.

The ACTS has stressed that it remains committed to the ideas laid out in its December response to the McCormac review.

These included: periodic reaccreditation of teachers' chartered status; clear guidelines on chartered teachers' role; and reviews of modules to address overly academic content.

henry.hepburn@tess.co.uk

Status stats

1,385 - number of teachers who had gained chartered status in Scotland by December 2011 (includes people no longer working as chartered teachers, such as retirees or those who have taken different posts).

2,935 - number of teachers part of the way towards chartered status.

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