Fears of a stampede for chartered status

21st March 2003 at 00:00
THE rush to start the chartered teacher programme in August could cause a logjam in the system and leave behind many irate applicants, a senior teacher trainer warned this week.

Iain Smith, dean of the faculty of education at Strathclyde University, also confirmed that teachers will have to pay around pound;600 for each of the 12 modules out of their own pockets.

But the General Teaching Council for Scotland, which will be in charge of the initiative, maintains that it is on course for "the best possible start".

An estimated 30,000 Scottish teachers, with a profile of previous continuing professional development (CPD) and at the top of the main pay scale, are eligible to apply for chartered status.

"If one in three of these teachers wants to start in August or soon after, there will be a huge problem, a serious problem across the system," Mr Smith predicts. "Those not accepted would probably be irate, not least because this is the first CPD programme in Scotland with money attached."

Mr Smith has been heavily involved over the past two years in developing the chartered teacher (CT) standard, in piloting and developing modules and in running an extensive consultation exercise.

Despite the costs falling on teachers themselves, Mr Smith points out that this is reasonably common in other professions. "You have to remember that each salary increment, payable on the completion of two modules, will be around pound;1,100 per annum which will also have a positive impact on a teacher's pension," he says.

Strathclyde has received more than 300 enquiries in the past month. "That suggests a very significant number want to make a start on this programme sooner than later," Mr Smith says.

Matthew MacIver, the GTC registrar, said he was "delighted with what we believe is a very healthy response to the CT programme".

Mr MacIver said: "An accreditation system has been approved by the council which will ensure that teachers can have confidence in a system that gives them individual support as well as setting national criteria to assess their claims."

However "huge" the teething problems, Mr Smith believes that the programme has huge, rewarding aspects in terms of professional and financial advancement for teachers without them having to leave the classroom.

"There will be a growing community of chartered teachers who will impact positively on their schools, on teaching and learning methods, on curriculum development, on the whole life of the school because they will not be managers but developers."

Chartered teacher "charade", Opinion, page 24

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