New qualifications to boost teacher career progression

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Department for Education has set up a panel of experts to develop new professional qualifications for teachers in England, to help them progress their careers.

The panel will advise on the scheme, which is to be introduced during the academic year 2020-2021. The focus is on those who want to progress in non-leadership roles. But unions said there was a lack of transparency about how the experts were recruited to the advisory panel. The qualifications form part of the teacher recruitment and retention strategy in England, which was launched in January.  School standards minister Nick Gibb said the new qualifications would provide recognition for those teachers who want to develop their skills and progress their careers.

"Our ambition is for teachers to be able to do so without having to pursue traditional leadership routes, instead expanding their expertise in vital areas such as curriculum or behaviour management," he said. Richard Gill, chairman of the Teaching Schools Council, said: "There is a need to ensure that the current programme of qualifications meets the needs of the current educational landscape. "These new bespoke qualifications will provide practitioners with an excellent opportunity to develop and progress their careers, building stronger and more effective classroom practice without the need for them to follow traditional leadership roles."

But the announcement has drawn criticism from teaching unions. Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: "Once again, the government has missed the opportunity to take the profession with them in the development of new qualifications.

"The advisory group is a snub, not just to organisations who represent teachers, but also to the many university departments that have so much expertise in teacher training. There is a serious lack of transparency in how these panels are generated. "The National Education Union agrees that there must be a route for teachers who do not wish to pursue the traditional leadership pathways. Surely, therefore, we cannot afford to let the opportunity offered by the national professional qualifications be undermined by a lack of professional confidence."

Teacher training tests

The announcement comes a day after the government revealed it was replacing the existing skills tests on teacher training courses with a new system. Mr Gibb made a written ministerial statement on Tuesday saying: "I am introducing a new approach for assessing the numeracy and literacy of prospective teachers, which will replace the existing skills tests.

"From October, teacher training providers will become responsible for ensuring that prospective teachers meet the high standards of literacy and numeracy required to be a teacher. "Under this new system, trainees will be benchmarked against a defined set of skills they will be expected to have by the end of their initial teacher training."

Source: BBC News