GTP opens few doors abroad

30th November 2007 at 00:00
Teachers who have completed the graduate teacher programme are struggling to have their qualification recognised in other countries, including Australia.

Dozens of teachers who gained qualified teacher status in Britain through the classroom-based route have been told it does not measure up abroad.

The PGCE, which leads to the same status, is recognised more widely because it involves a year of academic study on top of a degree.

Teachers who have been on the programme argue that it should have equal value. They have launched a website urging the Australian government to accept the graduate teacher programme route, arguing that there is already a teaching shortage in the country. Teachers struggling to get jobs have been invited to write about their experiences on its forum.

The State School Teachers' Union recently warned that Western Australia will have 600 unfilled teaching posts by 2008 if action is not taken soon.

GTP teachers also report problems having their qualifications recognised in the USA, Canada and Spain. It has been accepted without difficulty in New Zealand.

Emily Webb came from Australia to teach in London in 2003 and trained to teach English on the graduate teacher programme. When she returned home in 2006, she was told she would have to complete an expensive additional year of academic training to work as a qualified teacher.

"I was told point blank that they wouldn't recognise it," she said. "It was a slap in the face, considering all my experience teaching in some very tough schools in the UK."

Samir Yesli, a 27-year-old maths teacher from Rochdale with three years' teaching experience, said he was not told about the apparently inferior status of the graduate teacher programme when he started. "I started looking for jobs in Australia and every state I contacted refused me point blank, saying I had to have a PGCE," he said.

However, one GTP-trained teacher, writing on The TES online staffroom, said he had got a job in Australia. Another said he had been offered posts in Spain and Russia.

Tony Stringer, from the Merseyside and Cheshire GTP Consortium, said teachers approaching authorities overseas should state that they have qualified teacher status, because the graduate teacher programme was not a qualification in itself. He added that GTP providers were exploring the possibility of giving masters accreditation for work done on the programme, creating a higher academic profile.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools says it is up to individuals to find out if the training routes they choose are accepted abroad. Teachers who qualify overseas must complete the year-long overseas trained teacher programme to work as a qualified teacher in the UK.

www.recognisegtp.net; www.teachingaustralia.edu.au.

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