A Framework for UK Teacher Training and Career Progression?
Prompted by another Tweeter this week (@MrsSpalding), I was keen to give my views on the proposed framework for UK Teacher Training and Career Progression, as put forward for consultation by the UK DfE[i] (@educationgovuk).
The main framework suggested is depicted thus:
My main feeling was that this was a positive step in the right direction, and the progression with implication of NPQ suite training from ML to EL levels was much needed. I believe that middle leaders and up should have this leadership training mandated – for the good of their own CPD and abilities in the job and career progression potential, as well as for the benefit of those in the profession serving under and alongside them. I currently teach MA Education Leadership & Management in HE and have experience in teaching in many settings and levels, including as a secondary school teacher. I feel everyone would benefit by having all leaders, middle level and up, take part in leadership training before being placed in a position of leadership, and definitely if newly appointed. Teachers who are good at teaching and good at having many of their students achieve well may well have leadership potential, and everyone should be given a chance to develop their leadership, but leadership training is essential. It’s the difference between having an HoD who drives a team into the ground, or just leaves them to it while they just focus on their own success, and someone on the other hand who coaches and mentors and develops all working with them so everyone is the best that they can be, on an ever improving journey, based on values that work for all. Ethical, values based leadership is the only way I’d say a school should be able to do well in a holistic manner, while considering the wellbeing of both students and staff.
However, what is missing from this framework is a range of factors. Firstly, routes into teaching are not so cut and dry. The consultation does not make mention of QTLS, which is now a legally accepted route into teaching in schools and achieved through Further Education routes of teacher/lecturer training and progression. For example, someone who ends up a teacher of design and technology or another technical subject specialism, may have come into teaching in FE via an industry first route. They might have been trained and apprenticed as a joiner, plumber, graphic designer, technical drawer, or another vocational area of expertise, and then gone into teaching in FE. They might have been trained with a TEFL/CELTA qualification and had many happy years teaching English as a foreign language abroad and then come back to the UK and got into English teaching that way. They may have then, alongside their teaching/lecturing role, worked their way through the PTLLS, CTLLS or DTLLS training suite (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector; Certificate in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector; Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector) and received accreditation for teaching in that way, alongside many years of experience in the classroom. They may have then finally completed a module with prior accredited learning to achieve a PGCE in Education and Training 14+ and then completed the SET/ETS QTLS final module that may give them parity in legal terms with teachers in state schools, legally allowing them to teach in such schools.
Are they then to be put on a scale which only recognises them as NQTs or RQTs? When they may have had many, many years industrial and teaching experience? Are they then not given any prior accreditation for any previous managerial experience that may well equate with NPQML/SL? What recognition is there for such previous experience? This is not currently mentioned in the DfE consultation and nor is recognition easily given in educational establishments.
Other managerial and leadership qualifications should be established with parity to allow prior accreditation in this regard.
In addition, the suggested career progression routes highlighted in the above diagram give no mention of teachers stepping into teacher educator roles in ITT or ITE programmes in HE or elsewhere (Initial Teacher Training or Initial Teacher Education). Career progression might be very different and the assumed model is quite limiting and non-diverse. It is very common for many teachers to follow MA/PhD or EdD routes of professionalization and then become teacher educators in HE or other similar provided programmes. I therefore believe that the proposed model should be developed to integrate the diversity of possible routes, rather than conservatively portraying the school based teacher progression route as a university to school to headship route of progression only.
Finally, membership of the Chartered College of Teaching should be accessible from any and all stages of entry, as mentioned above. Why preclude teachers who have not reached a very precise moment in time in a restrictively estimated career progression path? I am a professional associate of the CCT, and I can only advocate membership for all – access to journal papers is such a great benefit for one thing.
My own entry into teaching and path through the profession has been very non-standard according to the above diagram. I certainly don’t feel recognised by it, which is a shame, as I think there are probably many others like me too. What of diverse paths into and beyond the school?
Dr Carol Webb, CTEFLA BA PhD PGCE FRSA FHEA CMI
[i] Strengthening Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and Improving Career Progression for Teachers – see https://consult.education.gov.uk/teaching-profession-unit/strengthening-qts-and-improving-career-progression/ to engage in the consultation prior to the deadline of March 9th, 2018.