We are raising the bar

20th September 2013 at 01:00

The theme of next week's Scottish Learning Festival is "Raising the bar in Scotland: transforming lives through learning". This encapsulates the work of the National Implementation Board (NIB) as we strive to turn the vision of Graham Donaldson's seminal report Teaching Scotland's Future into reality for every teacher in Scotland, from those embarking on their careers to those in leadership positions.

As Professor Donaldson reminds us in his report, we need a highly skilled teaching profession if we are to give our young people the capacity to shape their futures and the future of Scotland.

Recent developments by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) are an essential part of delivering his vision of a profession that has lifelong learning at its heart. Its updated standard for career-long learning is designed to help teachers identify and plan their own learning needs. Last month, the GTCS also extended its professional update pilot scheme, which provides opportunities for teachers to share their learning.

In addition, there are new standards for leadership and management, which supersede the standard for headship. These define leadership as the ability to develop a vision and support others to follow through on that vision, thus giving aspiring leaders a better understanding of what is required of them.

Education Scotland's Aspiring Teachers website has been created to give student teachers a clearer understanding of the literacy and numeracy levels they need to meet, while other Education Scotland websites offer resources on how to form meaningful mentoring and coaching relationships.

Works in progress include translating the Framework for Educational Leadership into an online resource; the revision of the national professional review and development guidance, with new resources to aid implementation; publication of priorities for teacher learning; and an e-portfolio for teachers to record their learning outcomes.

In the near future, you can expect to hear from the NIB about the strides being made to establish more master's-level learning for practitioners across Scotland. A crucial element of this will be a framework that enables teachers to gain accreditation for work they are undertaking and allows credits to be transferred between universities.

The establishment of a Scottish College for Educational Leadership will be another milestone. Cabinet secretary for education Michael Russell will give more detail of progress towards that goal at next week's Scottish Learning Festival.

See pages 16-18

Professor Petra Wend is chair of the National Implementation Board and principal of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. She will chair a round-table discussion on Teaching Scotland's Future at the Scottish Learning Festival on 26 September (bit.lySLF2013).

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