With the review of the chartered teacher programme due to finish in August, this could be a good time to widen the debate on its future direction. While it has to be acknowledged there are difficulties with the existing structure, we are in danger of getting bogged down in the process of becoming a chartered teacher, instead of developing a vision of how to use chartered teachers most effectively.
Regularly, we hear anecdotal evidence of the programme's shortcomings. But, as a chartered teacher,I can testify to the rigour of the assessment process, although the issue of cost will have to be addressed soon if the route is to become genuinely accessible.
As for accusations that poor teachers fly below the radar, this shows that the system has weaknesses on a par with interview procedures in other walks of life. A small percentage of mediocre candidates shine on the day and manage to pull the wool over the eyes of interviewers, but the exception need not define the rule.
One of the major purposes of embarking on this route is to demonstrate a commitment to continuing professional development. It follows, therefore, that the award cannot be viewed as an end in itself, but as part of a developmental process.
Chartered teachers are rewarded with enhanced salaries and recognition, but there is more to recognition than payment. There has to be the chance for involvement in small-scale practitioner research to prove or disprove the impact on learning and teaching through monitored and evaluated classroom initiatives. The alternative is to allow anecdote to assume factual status.
To ensure chartered teachers have a collective voice on the programme, a discussion forum is mandatory. Such a forum could evolve into an institute, which could influence review and development and promote challenging classroom initiatives.
If chartered teachers do not take part in the debate, we will have well-qualified, well-paid teachers with no forward plans.