Neil Munro reports on the debate over the Education Minister's revamped assessment regime
PROSPECTIVE teachers will have their fitness to teach put fully to the test in demanding new criteria launched for consultation on Tuesday by the Scottish Executive and the General Teaching Council for Scotland.
The new "standard for full registration" (SFR) sets out eight wide-ranging aspects in which teachers will have to demonstrate competence by the end of their probationary period.
The Executive hopes the establishment of a quality threshold will signal its determination to ensure that the drive to step up recruitment in the wake of the teachers' settlement will not be at the expense of high professional standards.
Ministers will ensure support is at hand for those who need it. Jack McConnell, Education Minister, said he wanted "a professional standard in which we have confidence".
The proposals launched this week, which will apply to all new teacher graduates from August next year, follow closely the standard for initial teacher education, the benchmark for provisional registration of newly qualified teachers.
Norma Anne Watson, the GTC's convener, said these two standards were key ingredients for "a continuum of professional development".
The standard for full registration expects rookie teachers to show:
* A wide knowledge and understanding of the curriculum.
* Awareness of the education system, educational policies and their own professional responsibilities.
* An ability to relate knowledge to practice. The application of different teaching styles to pupils' learning. Competence in classroom organisation and management.
* Adeptness in the assessment of pupils and its use to improve their teaching.
* The capacity to be a "reflective professional".
* Respect for young people and a commitment to their development.
But the Executive and the GTC caution: "It would be unreasonable to expect most new entrants to display within a year or so all the problem-solving skills of an effective teacher with five or more years of experience.
"At the same time the SFR is the gateway to the profession. It must therefore constitute a standard of capability in relation to teaching in which pupils, parents, the profession itself and the wider community can have confidence.
"The SFR must be comprehensive enough to be reassuring for all interested parties and yet realistic and achievable."
The standard also makes clear that induction of teachers should take place "in a climate of support", which will vary depending on the abilities of the individual and the circumstances of the class.
Experienced staff reviewing probationers' progress should take into account factors such as the respect they have earned from pupils, the level of parent trust, progress made by pupils and the ethos of the class.