No to 'a crawlers' charter'

21st December 2007 at 00:00
Review group says applicants for teacher scheme must remain free from veto.

The group set up to review the chartered teacher scheme has recommended no substantial changes in the way it operates or is funded, ignoring management pressure for a power of veto over applicants.

An unpublished copy of the final draft report from the group chaired by Michael O'Neill, the former director of education for North Lanarkshire, which has been seen by The TESS, indicates teachers will not have to seek approval from a head or line manager before starting the CT programme. But they must show a strong record of continuing professional development.

Teaching unions have successfully defended the principle that teachers should have the right of self-nomination to become a chartered teacher, which earns a salary increase of up to pound;7,000 for those at the top of the basic pay scale. The unions argued that the introduction of a power of veto, or "affirmation of suitability", over eligibility would create a "crawlers' charter".

The review of the scheme was set up a year ago by Hugh Henry, the then Labour education minister, who said it was time to see whether it was having its desired effect.

His announcement came shortly after Bruce Robertson, last year's president of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, said directors should have a say over who entered the programme.

In return for having more control over eligibility, they would be willing to contribute to the costs of chartered teachers going on the scheme.

Bill McGregor, general secretary of the Headteachers' Association of Scotland, said his organisation was not asking for heads to have the power of approval. "But within each local authority, there should be some organisation or person to whom teachers should refer if they want to go on a CT programme," he said.

While teaching unions have won the battle over eligibility, the SSTA has failed in its bid to have CTs funded in the same way as the Scottish Qualification for Headship.

Heads and local authority managers had been anxious to assign more explicit duties to chartered teachers, but the report confirms that "CTs will not have any additional management burden to that experienced by a teacher at the top of the main grade". But they will be expected to contribute to curricular and learning developments.

David Eaglesham, general secretary of the SSTA, attacked what he said was the false assumption that higher pay should be linked to more duties.

Full report, page 4.

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