Eight stages of excellence

6th May 2005 at 01:00
Too many teachers are still waiting to be told what training they should take rather than identifying their own needs.

Myra Pearson, depute registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, told local authority CPD co-ordinators last week in Edinburgh that initial evidence from a survey of teachers interested in the chartered teacher programme suggested that many were still saying: "Tell me what I have to do."

Instead, they should be thinking about what they are doing and where they want to go.

"If we want to keep what we have gained through the new probationer system, we have to give new teachers the opportunity to maintain this need to justify and think about what they are doing - in other words, the responsibility for taking that learning forward," Ms Pearson said.

The message was reinforced by Margaret Alcorn, Scotland's national CPD co-ordinator, who asked: "How do we ensure that, as young teachers hit our schools fresh and challenged, they remain that rather than the stereotypical tired 50-year-old science teacher who goes along to a CPD course because he has to and would rather be tidying his science cupboard?"

Mrs Alcorn suggested that CPD had to be better tailored to different needs and experiences, particularly with new posts emerging such as faculty heads and principal teachers in primary schools.

She was therefore proposing for discussion eight categories of CPD provision aimed at:

* Probationer teachers.

* Young teachers who have just done the Standard for Registration but need specifically designed CPD.

* More experienced teachers who need different objectives so that they do not become "tired, bored and boring but challenged and challenging".

* Those interested in the chartered teacher programme.

* Those who have gained chartered teacher status.

* Educational leaders - principal teachers in schools, faculty heads and deputy headteachers.

* Working towards the Standard for Headship.

* Headteachers.

Douglas Cairns, from HM Inspectorate of Education, who is currently evaluating the effectiveness of the national teachers' agreement, said he was gaining the impression that teachers were becoming more willing to share their strengths with staff from another department and that there was a growth in the use of strategies such as reflective weekends.

But he warned that the quality of secondary department networks was variable and that there was a need to encourage collegiality within faculty groupings.

Ms Pearson also presented early findings from a GTC survey of probationer teachers, due to be published in the summer. She said there was evidence of overlap between the training offered in initial teacher education and that provided by local authorities for probationer teachers in the key topics of classroom organisation, discipline and behaviour management, and child protection.

In the secondary sector, not enough training was offered to allow probationers to develop their subject knowledge; and where joint CPD was offered for primary and secondary probationers, it was difficult to see the connections if some teachers were working with 3-5s and others with 16-18s.

A survey of 7,000 teachers who had expressed interest in the chartered teacher programme suggested that the biggest barrier to taking part was the difficulty of maintaining a life-work balance.

The best means of encouraging teachers that the CPD programme was for them, was to remove the self-evaluation module and offer it to every teacher working toward their fourth, fifth, or sixth year of teaching, said Ms Pearson, adding: "We can't forget our experienced teachers. There is a need to look at whether they should be doing something similar."

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