Chartered teachers must lead by example

18th June 2010 at 01:00
Concerns about the role and profile of some chartered teachers

I am impressed by HM Wilson's inferential skills which allow her to deduce (TESS, June 11), from a flippant anecdote reported in Jotter on May 28, that I don't value chartered teachers because I can't select them, which must mean that I am an autocratic manager - and probably even a misogynist.

A nerve has clearly been touched. But Mrs Wilson is right if she believes that, beneath my apparent flippancy, there was a serious concern about the role and profile of some chartered teachers in our schools (not necessarily my own). This concern has been echoed in the Revised Standard for Chartered Teacher and in HMIE's 2009 report, LearningTogether: improving teaching, improving learning.

My initial comment about the role of chartered teachers was prompted by a presentation from General Teaching Council Scotland chief executive Tony Finn to the Educational Institute of Scotland headteachers' conference in 2009, during which he suggested that CTs ought to be at the forefront of the leadership culture in our schools. I agree that they ought to be.

But chartered teachers are no more homogeneous a group than any other in the profession. As the HMIE report acknowledged, "because entry to the chartered teacher programme was by self-nomination, some teachers undertaking the programme were not in themselves models of good teaching practice".

From my experience, CTs do not have all the positive qualities listed by Mrs Wilson just because they are chartered teachers. Those who demonstrate such qualities do so because that was the kind of teacher they were before they were CTs, and they continue to make an invaluable collegiate contribution after having achieved the Standard.

Equally, there are many, many teachers in our schools who have these qualities in abundance but are not working towards the Standard, let alone achieved it. Our schools are full of "chartered teachers".

However, there is still a significant number of CTs who do not appear to see their role in these collegiate terms. In fact, they will attest that, as they chose to take on and pay for this onerous challenge independently, they are not obliged to have a formal commitment to the service, even though they will continue to be paid substantial additional remuneration by the taxpayer for the rest of their lives.

I believe that all chartered teachers ought to be automatically obliged to demonstrate a visible collegiate leadership role within a school and that the Standard ought to make this explicit.

Eddie Morrison, headteacher, John Olgilvie High, Hamilton.

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