I read Douglas Osler's opinion piece on the importance of continuing professional development in last week's TES Scotland with interest. Mr Osler is correct when he points out the importance of quality CPD for the teaching profession.
Mr Osler is quite wrong, however, when he states that the possibility of a Scottish teaching union being actively involved in providing CPD for teachers is "just a dream."
In fact, the country's main teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, already has a broad range of CPD opportunities available to its members.
Recently, the EIS, in partnership with the University of Paisley, Learning and Teaching Scotland and South Ayrshire and Argyll and Bute councils, launched its own chartered teacher course for members. This course, one of the first to receive full accreditation from the General Teaching Council for Scotland, now has around 500 teachers signed up to take part. This is, by far, the largest number of participants signed up to any chartered teacher course in the country.
For the past two years, again in partnership with the University of Paisley, the EIS has been running online CPD courses for members. Indeed, the first graduates from our postgraduate certificate in workplace organisation received their awards at a major event in Glasgow the day before Mr Osler's article was published.
Such was the significance of this event that the Education Minister, Peter Peacock, took time to attend the ceremony and presented the successful students with their awards.
Also receiving their awards from the Minister at this ceremony were the first group of accredited EIS learning representatives.
The EIS learning representative programme has been developed to provide assistance and support for teachers seeking CPD opportunities. The EIS now has almost 60 learning representatives at different stages of development.
The aim is to have one accredited EIS learning representative in each local authority area in the near future, where their main role will be to support and facilitate CPD opportunities for Scotland's teachers.
The EIS believes that quality CPD is essential for Scotland's teachers, and so we are actively involved in the provision of a broad range of opportunities for our members.
President, Educational Institute of Scotland