Chartered teacher cohort fights for special treatment

5th October 2012 at 01:00
Those on scrapped programme make `exceptional personal circumstances' plea

About 50 teachers who were part of the way through the chartered teacher programme before it was scrapped have applied under the "exceptional personal circumstances" rule to be allowed to continue their studies and receive more pay.

Approximately half of these applicants have been asked to provide further information to justify their case; of the remainder, only about one in three has been successful, said Drew Morrice, EIS assistant secretary and joint secretary for the teachers' side of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers.

The deadline for applying for special dispensation passed two weeks ago today (September 21). But the Association for Chartered Teachers Scotland (ACTS) is still calling for greater transparency around the criteria used in the decision process.

"We were under the impression that certainly those on maternity leave would receive `exceptional circumstances' treatment but were unsure as to whether there were any other circumstances," said ACTS chair David Noble.

ACTS has also called for an appeals process to be put in place for those unhappy with the SNCT decision to turn their application down.

When the chartered teachers' scheme was scrapped, the teaching unions' side achieved its priority of conserving chartered teachers' pay, said Mr Morrice.

But a quid pro quo in the negotiation process had been that aspiring chartered teachers could only complete, and be financially accredited for, a phase of learning they had already embarked upon; this had to be done by June 2013 unless "exceptional personal circumstances" could be demonstrated.

Those granted the dispensation had to outline an event - such as an illness - that had prevented them from "embarking on the next module or phase of learning required to reach a salary increment", he said.

Bouts of illness, or other events, which had delayed studies before the scheme was frozen in June 2011 were unlikely to be considered relevant, warned Mr Morrice.

The SNCT had been guided by three documents when making decisions on what amounted to "exceptional personal circumstances": SNCT circulars 1124 and 1235 and the joint secretaries' letter 1124.

Mr Morrice added: "If people wish to appeal they can make a submission to the SNCT joint chairs."

ACTS is also still seeking clarity around the role and enhanced contribution of chartered teachers. It was "not comfortable" with the SNCT suggestion that chartered teachers might "assist in supporting underperforming teachers" and wanted a more precise definition of the "enhanced contribution" expected of teachers who were on the chartered teachers scale but not fully qualified.

Mr Noble said: "We welcome the revised code and circular. We just need more clarification on how it plays out in practice."

The ACTS' position is detailed in full at bit.lyNmghoX


The Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland has struck a 12-month deal to provide its members with free access to the "most authoritative online resource for education research", EBSCO Education Research Complete.

The arrangement has been agreed with the College of Teachers at the Institute of Education, University of London.

Chartered teachers have often complained about their lack of access to education research, given that part of their remit is to promote "effective learning and study techniques".

Full details on how to register with the College of Teachers and begin using the resource were issued to ACTS members earlier this week.

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