Editor's comment

26th February 2010 at 00:00

No matter how the General Teaching Council for Scotland spins it, how conciliatory its language, or how touchy-feely its messages, it is inevitable that the prospect of "re-accreditations" will spread fear and alarm in staffrooms. Tony Finn, the council's chief executive and Keith Brown, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, have both emphasised their faith in teachers' professional skills. Any process of re- accreditation, we are assured, will support teachers in developing their skills, not pick on the weakest. The vast majority of teachers seek to keep up-to-date with the latest practice anyway, Mr Finn believes, and re- accreditation would simply be a mechanism to confirm this was being done.

But therein lies the rub. Re-accreditation is not supposed to be a rubber stamp; otherwise, what is the point of introducing it? Ministers will expect some payback: improving standards in teaching (especially after the latest survey on achievement this week). And it will have to include measures to deal with those teachers - few in number, we are constantly assured - who do not keep their professional skills up to scratch.

So, if teachers view this evaluation of their performance as a "crit", that is exactly what it will be. But, with careful management, the GTCS should be able to introduce it without scaring the horses too much. It is the norm in many other walks of life.

Reassuring the profession might have been easier if the GTCS had been given a carrot as well as a (potential) stick, supporting teachers through continuing professional development so it would not be seen as just a controlling body. It may well be that the re-accreditation process will expose gaps in the CPD landscape. If that is the case, the GTCS may yet reinforce its case for a stronger CPD role and bring greater coherence to a very mixed bag of provision.

Neil Munro editor of the year (business and professional magazine).

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today