The Education Secretary has launched a consultation to strengthen Qualified Teacher Status and improve career progression for teachers.

Education Secretary Justine Greening has launched plans to improve and increase development opportunities for teachers as part of a drive to attract the best and brightest into the profession.

The proposals in a consultation on strengthening Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and improving career progression for teachers, launched today, include a plan to boost the support and mentoring available to new teachers. The overall period before teachers gain Qualified Teacher Status could also be extended to enable this, giving even greater standing to the teaching profession and preparing teachers for a successful career.

The consultation, which has been welcomed by education experts after it was announced as part of the Government’s plan to improve social mobility, Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential, will also seek views on how to develop the next generation of teachers to become leaders in their field, without necessarily taking on management responsibilities outside of the classroom.

Today’s announcement builds on the £42 million investment in teacher professional development announced in the budget last month, and is part of the ongoing work to provide high quality opportunities in line with the best education systems to ensure teachers are supported to deliver a world-class education for all.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said:

Great teachers help unlock children’s talents, so investing in them is vital if we want to drive school improvement across the country.

We’re taking steps to make sure high-quality professional development is a fundamental part of a teacher’s career, whether they decide to move into a leadership role or want to continue teaching the classroom. These new measures aim to boost that support from the moment they start their career.

I hope to hear from teachers about these plans and work with them to make sure they have the support they need to create opportunities for the pupils they teach, wherever they are growing up.

To coincide with the publication of the consultation, applications have also opened for schools to bid for a share of the next round of the Leadership Equality and Diversity Fund, worth over £1.8m over the next two years. This fund will support teachers from under-represented backgrounds – including women and people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds – to progress into leadership roles.

Under the current consultation proposals, the changes to Qualified Teacher Status will become statutory from September 2019, and will apply to teachers starting their Initial Teacher Training from that point. Teachers who complete Initial Teacher Training will have the same pay, rights and protections as current newly qualified teachers as it currently the case.

There will also be a renewed focus on the importance of high-quality development opportunities for existing teachers. Proposals include the expansion of professional qualifications, creating guidance about professional development entitlements, ring fencing development budgets within the schools that need it most and a new fund to encourage teachers to take sabbaticals so they can gain expertise that can be used in a school environment.

The consultation will be open until 9 March 2018 and was designed with input from an advisory group made up of experts – teachers and heads, academics and sector leaders, unions, the Chartered College of Teaching and the Teacher Development Trust.

Dame Alison Peacock, chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching said:

We are delighted that the government is looking at ways to ensure that all teachers have access to high quality professional development and mentoring throughout their career. The proposals are also focused on giving the teachers the status and recognition for expertise that they so much deserve, through the strengthening of QTS and the development of progression routes that enable them to stay in the classroom.

Along with a sustained focus on teacher workload, these proposals have the potential to begin to address the retention challenges facing the teaching profession.

We would encourage all teachers and school leaders to respond to the consultation, and have their say in shaping this important policy area.

David Weston, CEO of Teacher Development Trust said:

These proposals represent a positive step forward for teacher professional development and reflect the Secretary of State’s clear commitment in this area. Society’s expectations of teachers continue to rise, so it is right that we make greater provision for early career development.

We particularly want to welcome moves to strengthen the capacity of our school system to design and deliver great CPD for teachers. Government appears to recognise that it needs to do more than merely deliver ‘CPD ready meals’ to schools, it needs to invest in training the ‘CPD chefs’ in those organisations to get sustainable, school-led improvement.

Many teachers will welcome more opportunity to progress whilst staying in the classroom. This work needs to complement the existing work of organisations like the Chartered College of Teaching and not conflict with the progress already made in these areas.

We’ve long argued for more support for headteachers to ensure they know how to spend their precious CPD funds. As such, it is important that any badging scheme introduced needs to be fair and evidence based. By focusing on recognising all excellence in provision, the scheme should not unfairly disadvantage smaller providers nor school-to-school support methods.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said:

We’ve been calling for government to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in teaching for four years. The proposals for the reform of QTS are a welcome step in the right direction in strengthening the status of the teaching profession. There is an urgent need to both recruit and retain new teachers, and to focus on wider career development that will support career longevity. Properly resourced, this has the potential to make teaching an attractive profession. It forms one element of a desperately needed programme of measures to resolve the recruitment and retention crisis faced by schools.

We are broadly in favour of the proposed two-year QTS and welcome the Department for Education’s confirmation that pre-QTS teachers would be paid on the qualified teacher scale. This must be accompanied by structured core Continuing Professional Development to ensure continuity and development between Initial Teacher Training, Pre-Qualified Teacher Status and QTS. It’s vital that it leads to the development of professional skills and competencies, as well as high-quality mentoring; protected development time for teachers in the PQTS period for schools.

Schools cannot deliver the extended QTS period without the additional funding to deliver it, including training for mentors and release from curriculum time.

The consultation also speaks encouragingly of professional development for existing teachers, which again we welcome. But government must ensure that all schools have the budget to deliver these improvements for the profession as a whole. Focusing only on areas of challenge will not deliver the government’s ambition.

These announcements follow the recent confirmation of a number of other measures to recruit and retain more great teachers.

This includes:

  • The commitment to invest £42million in a Teacher Development Premium pilot to enable teachers and leaders working in areas of greatest need to access high quality professional development, and drive school improvement – offering some teachers up to £1000 to spend on career development;
  • The introduction of the new, strengthened national professional qualifications for school leaders, as well as a £10million fund to encourage take-up up in the areas that need it most;
  • The department-funded Chartered College of Teaching’s new Chartered Teacher Status, which lasts 14 months and will begin in January with a pilot cohort;
  • Naming the 25 areas across England selected to run a pilot programme to reimburse student loan repayments for modern foreign languages and science teachers at the start of their careers. For a teacher on £29,000, the new student loan repayments pilot and the increased student loan repayment threshold of £25,000 will mean £720 cash in pocket. This is the equivalent of an approximate £1,000 increase in salary per year; and
  • Naming the projects that will receive a share of the £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund. These projects will help provide tailored training opportunities for teachers on both managing challenging pupil behaviour and developing leadership, so they can make the most of their talent in the classroom.

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