Starting out

6th July 2007 at 01:00
When it comes to new standards for teachers, a change can do you good, says Sara Bubb

If you think change is a pain, pity the people who support England's new teachers, because in eight years there have been three different sets of standards.

The latest change is going to be for the better, because now all the standards for qualified teacher status: induction, threshold, Excellent Teacher and Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) status have been put in the same framework - look out for the wallchart produced by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (available from www.tda.gov.uk).

There are 41 core standards that have to be met for induction. They form the basis of the others, which will help teachers manage their career and professional development. It's like a tree with the core standards being the trunk, off which the others grow.

So if you want to become an AST, for instance, you'd need to meet the 41 core, the 10 threshold, the eight Excellent Teacher standards and the three which are just for ASTs - so 62 in total. To make life simpler for the 38,800 teachers who are registered for Chartered London Teacher status, the 12 CLT standards are integrated into the framework in a document which you can find on the CLT part of www.lcll.org.uk.

The framework has three sections: professional attributes; knowledge and understanding; and skills. And each section has handy subheadings.

To qualify as a teacher, people need "a secure knowledge and understanding of their subjectscurriculum areas and related pedagogy". Well, that's a lifetime's work.

There are some oddities, including the need to show "high expectations of children and young people, including a commitment to ensuring they can achieve their full educational potential". Who knows what anyone's potential is? It's infinite.

The core standards are going to be demanding: they describe a perfect teacher rather than someone just learning the trade. No one would argue with the need for the highest standards, but it's a bit like expecting a junior house doctor to be at brain surgeon level

Sara Bubb's new book, Successful Induction for New Teachers: A Guide for NQTs and Induction Tutors, Coordinators and Mentors will be published in September by SagePaul Chapman

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