ACTS received a reply from Drew Morrice, Assistant Secretary of the EIS and Joint Secretary of the SNCT, at the beginning of October (click here to open the letter).
The committee of the Association of Chartered Teachers (ACTS) wish to thank each of the three parties to the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) for reaching an agreement on Chartered Teacher (click left to open SNCT Circular 12/35) that will enable all those on the Chartered Teacher Pay Spine to continue to play a career-long role that makes an enhanced contribution to the quality of teaching and learning in Scotland, whether in school or across the wider educational community. We support the expectation of the SNCT that Chartered Teachers be “leaders of learning” (Updated Code of Practice on the Role of the Chartered Teacher). ACTS recently envisioned the ongoing role of Chartered Teachers as such.
The committee recognise that the SNCT have a full work schedule and we are grateful that agreement has been reached by the end of school session 2011/12. This enables Chartered Teachers to begin to envision their own future role and contribution, for example through building on established relationships with school managers and leaders, or utilising new systems of Professional Review and Learning (or Development) (PRL/D).
The newly published Updated Code of Practice on the Role of the Chartered Teacher (detailed in the SNCT guidance on the Role and Enhanced Contribution of Chartered Teachers) and the existing Standard for Chartered Teacher requires to be fully understood by management as they engage in trusting and respectful dialogue.
We note that the “SNCT continues to recognise that Chartered Teachers and those who were working towards achieving the Standard (for Chartered Teacher) bring benefits to the school or wider educational community through the impact of their professional actions”, and that such individuals “remain primarily classroom teachers and should not be regarded as part of the school’s management structure.” (SNCT guidance on the Role and Enhanced Contribution of Chartered Teachers)
The ACTS committee welcome the updating of the 2009 Code of Practice on the Role of the Chartered Teacher. We believe that The Role and Enhanced Contribution of Chartered Teachers document, contained within SNCT Circular 12/35, is fit-for-purpose and complements the Standard for Chartered Teacher.
The committee appreciate the intensive work of The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) and partners to produce the new ‘suite’ of Professional Standards. Two ACTS committee members have been involved in writing the (presently-titled) Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning. ACTS will contribute to the Standards consultation later in 2012. Presently, the committee believe that the Standard for Chartered Teacher; with its focus on Educational and social values, Critical self-evaluation and development, Impact and evidence of sustained enhanced practice, and Collaboration with, and influence on, colleagues; remains relevant to the professionalism and practice of teachers on the CT Pay Spine.
The ACTS committee are comfortable with the following list of professional actions, expanded upon in the Updated Code of Practice on the Role of the Chartered Teacher:
(a) Leading and/or contributing to focused projects to initiate change at school, cluster or authority level;
(b) Supporting, advising and mentoring colleagues in developing their skills of professional reflection, self-evaluation and continuous improvement;
(c) Developing and evaluating aspects of the curriculum and leading curricular change and assessment in the school;
(d) Leading in-service on research work on educational development; and
(e) Promoting and developing effective relationships with pupils, parents, stakeholders and the wider community.
We note that the SNCT state an individual’s contribution “must … reflect the Chartered Teacher’s own expertise which will take account of their teaching experience, interests, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and programmes of study undertaken.” (Updated Code of Practice)
We request that the SNCT, LNCTs, national bodies, school management, and teachers on the CT Pay Spine engage with the updated Code, and that national and local leaders assist in its promotion and implementation through committing themselves to the Code’s principles.
The ACTS committee are deeply disappointed that it appears some Chartered Teacher candidates may be unable to complete their studies within the Chartered Teacher Scheme at a point which they had ‘set out’ to reach. Early responses to Circular 12/35 from ACTS members and others indicate some confusion regarding the circumstances, up to 30th June 2013, under which current Chartered Teacher candidates will gain recognition for recent, ongoing or future professional learning; or successful resubmission of earlier assessments or ‘claims’.
With a deadline of 21st September 2012 for the SNCT Joint Secretaries to consider ‘exceptional circumstances’, ACTS will be advising current Chartered Teacher candidates to contact the SNCT at the earliest possible opportunity. Those successful in applying for dispensation to continue their studies up to 30th June 2013 will need a lead-in time to arrange study opportunities with their Chartered Teacher provider. ACTS intend to contact the GTCS and all Chartered Teacher providers over the next two months, in order to gain an impression of how the updated Code is ‘playing out’ nationally for Chartered Teacher candidates.
ACTS will continue to make key contributions to the “advancement of education” through the enhanced professionalism and practice of Chartered Teachers working in Scotland. We aim to improve networking between Chartered Teachers and other educationists, through attracting to the association many more teachers who are on the CT Pay Spine. The ACTS committee are working hard to organise our 2013 Winter Conference, where we will continue our work around sharing and co-constructing excellent professionalism, through Chartered Teachers engaging with practice, policy and research. The theme and details of this event will be announced in September.
Members of the association have been involved in some of the work of the National Partnership Group, taking forward the recommendations of ‘The Donaldson Report’. One focus that we have engaged with is the successful implementation of future systems of PRL/D. In light of the updated Code, we will continue to contribute to discourse around this and hope that others, such as local authorities, will share ‘good practice’ around PRL/D for Chartered Teachers.
Returning to the contents of Circular 12/35, the committee find the illustrative (and not exhaustive) examples contained within the updated Code to be helpful. However, the following points have been raised:
- We are not comfortable with the suggestion that Chartered Teachers might “assist in supporting underperforming teachers”, and ask if this is materially different from established notions of “supporting” or “mentoring”.
- ACTS have continually highlighted difficulties with teachers “access(ing) relevant research” once academic programmes of study end. To fulfil this specific role and contribution, Chartered Teachers must be provided with wide access to research literature.
- We agree that Chartered Teachers “develop relationships beyond the school”. However, post ‘McCormac Report’ there is concern that it will become increasingly difficult for teachers to be provided with sufficient time or permission from school managers.
- In relation to PRL/D processes for Chartered Teachers, there may be a need in some educational establishments to raise awareness or build capacity and time for school managers to discharge their role effectively.
- The updated Code appears to differentiate, according to the point on which they are placed on the CT Scale, the degree or amount of ‘role and enhanced contribution’ a teacher will take on or make. Clarification will be required around how such differentiation ought to be made by Chartered Teachers and managers, where there is a general expectation that all on the CT Scale continue to be ‘class committed’ for 22.5 hours within a 35-hour working week. This matter also raises the question of whether teachers on Points 1-5 of the CT Scale will be known as, and considered to be, Chartered Teachers.
- We would like to ask the SNCT if there will be an appeals procedure for teachers on the CT Pay Spine who ask the Joint Secretaries for consideration of ‘exceptional circumstances’ and who are, in the first instance, refused dispensation to continue their studies up to 30th June 2013.
In conclusion, the Updated Code of Practice on the Role of the Chartered Teacher and Circular 12/35 are supported by the ACTS committee. This SNCT agreement ensures that all teachers on the Chartered Teacher Pay Spine will be visible in their school and/or authority, having negotiated with their managers how their enhanced professionalism best improves teaching and learning, and outcomes for young people. The Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland will, as ever, work with a wide range of individuals, national and government agencies, and professional organisations to support the effectiveness of Chartered Teachers and the quality of education across Scotland.
David Noble, ACTS Chair, on behalf of the ACTS committee
1st July 2012