David Henderson reports from the SSTA conference in Aviemore and the NASUWT conference in Seamill
MORAG PORTER has been teaching for 10 years and has just paid off three student loans running to almost pound;5,000. She is naturally cautious about borrowing again to pay for the modules in the chartered teacher programme.
"I have a husband, a mortgage and other financial commitments and you are probably talking about pound;10,000 to complete the programme. I don't have pound;10,000. It's roughly pound;600-pound;700 a module, plus you are going to have travelling expenses to and from your provider and expenses such as literature you are required to buy and things like computer cartridges," Mrs Porter, a 30-year-old home economics teacher at St Michael's Academy in Kilwinning, says.
"For people of my age, it's prohibitive because we have other financial commitments that must come first. When the chartered teacher programme first came out I was very supportive because I do enjoy doing professional development but now I feel I am stuck at the top of the scale at 30 and I don't know if there is a promotion route to go down.
"If there is, the financial incentive is not there for the workload that goes with the job."
Mrs Porter believes that the debts incurred to pay off the first modules will swallow up the increments that go with them. "It's a vicious circle," she said.
Colleagues are also fearful that shelling out up to pound;1,200 to have previous staff development accredited may be throwing money away if it is rejected. "There is a lot of uncertainty," she said.
Mike Nash, an Angus teacher, told the conference about one woman who took eight modules in special educational needs between 1996 and 1998. She will now have to go through the pound;1,200 accreditation route for the same programme which continues to be offered by her local university.
Bill Fitzpatrick, East Ayrshire, a member of the national working group on chartered teachers, warned that many teachers might do the first two modules but stop because of costs and workload.