New status has no reward

20th January 2006 at 00:00
But chartered award won't duplicate standards. Karen Thornton, Michael Shaw and Graeme Paton report

Revisions to the standards experienced teachers have to meet to access higher pay will not affect plans in Wales to introduce a new chartered teacher status, according to the profession's watchdog.

The General Teaching Council for Wales is developing standards for the new status as a way of ensuring that experienced teachers who do extra training get professional recognition of their skills.

Meanwhile, the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is consulting on tougher standards for threshold, which include guiding colleagues on the use of classroom assistants and evaluating different techniques for handling pupil behaviour.

Teachers can apply to go through the threshold after five years in the job, and if successful receive a pound;2,000 pay boost and move on to the upper pay spine.

The TDA threshold consultation is part of a wider review of professional standards, covering qualified teacher status, induction, advanced skills teachers, and the new excellent teacher scheme - for classroom practitioners at the top of the upper pay spine.

The aim in England is to make career paths for teachers clearer and help schools make more consistent decisions about pay and promotions.

Wales has its own QTS and induction standards. But any changes to threshold that are written into the teachers' pay and conditions document will apply in Wales, because pay and conditions have not been devolved to the National Assembly.

A spokesman for the GTCW said it was aware of the TDA consultation. But he added: "The framework we are developing is independent of pay. It is meant to be a series of professional milestones that fit in with NQT and induction standards."

It could take up to two years to introduce chartered status in Wales. GTCW members, at their meeting in Abergavenny this week, agreed to apply for it from the Privy Council, the government office which oversees the issuing of Royal Charters.

Members were reassured by chief executive Gary Brace that incorporating the GTCW under a Royal Charter would not affect its independence, because its status is laid down in law. He also said that teachers who achieved chartered status would not have to pay for the title.

Members also discussed suggestions that chartered status should include both experienced classroom practitioners and middle leaders.

Council member Gareth Jones, head of Bryn Celynnog comprehensive, Pontypridd, drew attention to the TDA review of professional standards, which was triggered by recommendations made on pay by the School Teachers Review Body.

He told council colleagues: "That may impact on this (chartered status). It may be worth not taking too many decisions too early. We may not need to break down what a chartered teacher is."

* The GTCW's annual registration fee, which is deducted automatically from serving teachers' pay, looks set to remain at pound;32 in 2006-7, for the third year running.

Council members agreed the new fee at their meeting in Abergavenny, south Wales this week, after hearing that the organisation has pound;698,000 in reserves.

GTCW officials are predicting increases in office and staff costs next year, and said spending on disciplinary hearings was higher than expected this year. But other budgets are underspent.


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