Meeting the standard

3rd December 2004 at 00:00
As Annie McSeveny points out in her article, "Dive in and join the chartered teachers" (TESS, November 19), the financial rewards for experienced teachers (even those approaching retirement) attaining chartered teacher status through the accreditation of priorexperiential learning (APLAPEL) route can present a fairly convincing reason for committing to the demands of the process.

I do wonder, however, the extent to which consideration is being given to encouraging the next generation of chartered teachers. Teachers who are undertaking chartered teacher modules are reflecting on and analysing their classroom practice in ways which demonstrate their potential to contribute to the Executive's vision of "Ambitious, Excellent, Schools."

By embracing e-learning, students on our modules show that they are open to innovation. They are also contributing to a Scotland-wide learning community where teachers from every sector of 3-18 education discuss and share good practice.

Much has been said in recent announcements from the Executive about new approaches to leadership and to creating "inspired, ambitious school communities".

It seems obvious that an essential ingredient in these school communities will be teachers who exhibit the "more marked capacity for exercising initiative, independent judgment and other features of professional autonomy" envisaged by the Standard for Chartered Teachers.

As Annie McSeveney says: "There are many experienced teachers out there who could show that they meet the standard." But what of those who have only just reached, or are about to reach, the top of the pay scale?

If we are serious about continuing to promote and celebrate excellence in the classroom, then the chartered teacher route must also be presented as a viable and valued alternative to management posts for teachers who do not necessarily have 20 or 30 years of teaching experience.

Teachers who aspire to chartered teacher status through the modular route provided by universities will not only have the financial incentives available to those who have gone through the APLAPEL route, but will also attain additional qualifications up to and including the award of MEd.

It could also be argued that an expansion of the university route would allow classroom practitioners to develop the specialist skills which are currently being identified as an essential part of the future of Scottish education.

Jim Maclean Academic director (continuing professional development) School of Education University of Paisley

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