Simply fast track

11th March 2005 at 00:00
What is the point of the fast-track scheme?

When the scheme was introduced, the main pay scale for teachers was nine points long. The Government felt that a scheme that accelerated high-fliers up the main scale and into management positions would attract ambitious graduates and provide the leaders for tomorrow's schools.

However, it has never attracted anywhere near enough trainees and teachers to be able to fill more than a fraction of the leadership posts on offer.

Hopefully, it has been more successful in attracting high-fliers into teaching. But I suspect that the overall increase in salaries for teachers has achieved more in making teaching attractive as a career, especially as heads can now achieve six-figure salaries in the secondary sector.

Originally, the scheme aimed to place fast-track teachers in challenging schools and expected them to move every two years. Recently, both these components of the original seem to have been dropped.

At the start, fast track was operated through the Department for Education rather than the Teacher Training Agency. This caused problems as they often ran advertising campaigns in competition with each other. Is it time to rethink the whole purpose of the scheme?

If you have a question for John Howson, please email

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