Heed the poor bloody infantry

29th September 2000 at 01:00
YOUR feature on professional development (TESS, September 22) made no mention of the General Teaching Council for Scotland's intention to pay for classroom teachers to take up to 20 days "out of the trenches" to reflect on classroom practice.

Albeit on a small scale (it is after all being funded by teachers themselves), this initiative is designed to address a problem which more than one of your contributors referred to: the gulf between much of the continuing professional development (CPD)which is offered to teachers and their own desire for an approach which is more in tune with the realities of the "front line".

In blunt terms, a great deal of the CPD offered to teachers is at best irrelevant and at worst dispiriting. Unfortunately, classroom practitioners have become so inured to this situation that many, perhaps a maority, have given up any hope of improvement. It is to be hoped that the GTC's "reaching scholarships" scheme will go some way to reversing this.

Meanwhile, I note that Peter Peacock's hope is that a CPD strategy for teachers "will reflect lessons learned and applied elsewhere". I would humbly suggest that he begins at home by listening carefully to the views of the "poor bloody infantry".

As one of these, I fervently hope that the strategy which eventually emerges will give every qualified teacher the opportunity and the funding to determine their own priorities for CPD. I would submit that this is the only way to ensure real quality for the people who need it most - classroom teachers and their pupils.

Peter Wright

Council member, General Teaching Council for Scotland

Falcon Road


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