This is the Chartered College's response to the consultation at https://consult.education.gov.uk/teaching-profession-unit/strengthening-qts-and-improving-career-progression/consultation/
The proposals outlined in this consultation are warmly welcomed by the Chartered College of Teaching, offering the potential to improve the support and development available to teachers from the earliest stages of their career. They have the potential to make a real difference, and we believe this level of ambition for the profession is what we should expect. There is an opportunity to aim high and effect meaningful change. A focus on support and development at the start of teachers’ careers is crucial; too many teachers are leaving the profession too early. New teachers need access to professional development and support that meets their needs and that also sets a culture and an expectation of reflection, ongoing professional learning, engagement with evidence, expert challenge and support.
It must of course be taken into account that many of the ideas will be costly and time-consuming to bring to fruition, and this burden cannot be carried by schools or individual teachers. As the Department for Education will recognise, all of the proposed changes must therefore be supported by appropriate additional funding, support and time allowances. There are also many examples of excellent practice across the sector and these should be built on in the introduction of these proposed changes; recognition should be given to the excellent work already being carried out by individual schools, school trusts, HEIs, TSAs, subject and professional associations and learned societies, amongst others. Harnessing the collective power of the system and supporting collaborative work across schools and other organisations will help to ensure consistently high-quality provision whilst enabling flexibility for local need and context.
The Chartered College has already been involved in the development of these proposals; our Director of Education and Research, Cat Scutt, has been a member of the Department for Education’s career progression advisory group. We have built the following response to the consultation on the perspectives of our members, shared in a range of forms over the last few months, as well as on the best evidence available from at a national and international level. Our overall vision of what career progression should look like for teachers is shown in the graphic below (click to view in new window).
Please note that a number of the questions below required selecting from a set list of options.
- Do you think that QTS should be awarded after a period of sustained professional practice rather than the end of ITT?
Although the term ‘strengthening QTS’ has been widely used in relation to this consultation, the underlying goal of the changes is ‘strengthening the quality of teaching’, through providing appropriate support and professional development. Improving the experiences of teachers early in their career is not dependent on moving QTS, and we propose that QTS continues to be awarded at the end of ITT. Teachers take individual, unsupervised responsibility for teaching classes of children as soon as they complete their ITT, so an implication that they are not ‘qualified’ teachers at this stage is potentially problematic and could underplay the high level of knowledge and quality of practice developed during their initial teacher training.
However, we would warmly support the idea of further recognition of teachers’ progression at the end of a period of sustained professional practice post-QTS; this should not, in our opinion, reference or imply an endorsement or confirmation of the core Qualified Teacher Status, but should instead represent the next step in a teacher’s professional pathway. This would not necessarily need to be a formal award but could be, for example, marked through their eligibility for a higher level of membership to the Chartered College and / or subject and professional associations, similar to the model adopted in some other professions.
Completion of this period of sustained practice should involve a teacher achieving the Teacher Standards at a significantly more advanced level than at the end of ITT; ideally, it might represent them meeting a more advanced set of standards, moving towards the level represented by the Chartered College’s professional principles.
- Do you agree that a core early career content framework and a continuing professional development (CPD) offer for new teachers should be fundamental to a strengthened QTS?
We are very supportive of the idea of introducing a core content framework and CPD offer for new teachers. As outlined in our response to the previous question, there is a caveat here that QTS should continue to be achieved at the end of ITT, and this should period should therefore provide a strengthened 2 year experience post-ITT and award of QTS.
The concept of a core content framework and a more defined CPD offer would help to address the current variability in NQT provision, improving the consistency of experience and ensuring schools are supporting new teachers appropriately. It is important to ensure that high-quality provision is in place for all NQTs in a school, supporting the development of practice regardless of their starting point.
In the introduction of a core content framework, it is also important that we recognise the many examples of exceptional practice in schools and MATs across the country, and ensure these are not just enabled, but actively promoted and shared. We need to raise the bar in terms of the quantity, quality and consistency of provision for teacher development without limiting schools’ flexibility to develop / adopt a programme that suits their particular context and enables their new teachers to succeed.
- What core competencies, knowledge areas or particular skills do you think should be developed in a structured way during the induction period?
We believe that all of the areas listed in this question - subject and curriculum knowledge, evidence-based pedagogy (including subject-specific pedagogy), use of and engagement with evidence, behaviour management, use and understanding of assessment, and supporting pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) - should be included in the core content framework. However, it will be critically important for the framework to take into account and build on the areas covered in initial teacher training, creating continuity and progression. The way in which the framework relates to the teacher standards and / or another set of standards, for example the Chartered College’s professional principles, will be important here in establishing progression and in defining the topics that should be covered. The framework will also need to enable some level of flexibility to recognise teachers’ starting points, bearing in mind the range of routes through which they may have trained and that they may progress at different rates
In addition to the knowledge areas and skills identified here, it will be important to ensure early career teachers continue to be supported to embed the practices and behaviours which will enable them to continue to develop throughout their career. This should include, for example, the ability to evaluate and reflect on their impact; the skills and motivation to identify and engage in appropriate professional development; and understanding of how to develop their career while maintaining work-life balance. These will all involve consideration of the types of development activities they are encouraged to undertake during this period.
It is also important to recognise the role of leadership and school culture in enabling the learning these teachers undertake to actually influence their practice. Ensuring that the early career framework for teachers is supported by accompanying materials for school leaders to ensure that expectations are shared would help to ensure the framework is effective.
- Do you think we should extend the induction period?
A more sustained approach to teacher development at the start of their careers could be hugely powerful, so we welcome a proposal to extend this period. Allowing a more substantial foundation period – we prefer this term to induction period – at the start of a teacher’s career should ensure they are given support and development opportunities at a point where retention is an issue. However, this will need to be carefully positioned and managed to ensure it is not perceived as putting more undue pressure, workload or judgement on teachers at the start of their career, as suggesting a deficit model, or as creating a two-tier system. A change to wording and focus by this being conceptualised as ‘foundation period’, similar to the model in medicine, sets an expectation that the period is not just being lengthened, but actually strengthened. It also establishes this as the start of a career-long development journey.
The way in which the foundation period is perceived is likely to be driven largely by the approach taken to assessment and / or recognition of completion of this period. There is some potential benefit to phased recognition (either after each year or at points related to the core content framework), rather than a single point at the end of the two years. Assessment will need to relate to the core content framework – these two elements cannot be seen as abstracted. Critically, this two year period should be about ensuring early career teachers have appropriate provision and support to enable them to succeed, not be seen as either a tick-box exercise or an unnecessary barrier to entry to the profession. Stronger mentoring will be a key aspect of this, and any expectation of increased engagement with CPD / the early career content framework must be recognised by appropriate time allowance across the two years, rather than it being an additional expectation. Schools will need the funding to enable them to provide time, training and recognition for this mentoring.
Consideration will need to be given to how any changes will affect or be implemented for those on part-time contracts, taking career breaks, or moving school during the induction period. There are also teachers who progress into middle leadership roles within 2 years of starting teaching, and any implications here will need to be considered, although the establishment of a range of career routes proposed later in this consultation is likely to affect how early career teachers perceive and plan their careers.
- We have used the names QTS(P) and QTS throughout this document. Do you think that these terms are appropriate?
The terminology adopted here is critically important in terms of how these changes are received and perceived both by the teaching profession itself and more widely. As outlined in previous questions, we believe QTS should remain at the end of ITT, with the following period being renamed as the foundation period rather than an ‘induction period’. We believe the term ‘foundation period’ recognises the skills and knowledge already established but also suggests the first step on a journey, setting an expectation of progression after completion of the foundation period too. We also prefer the term ‘early career teacher’ to encompass a teacher undertaking that stage of their career, rather than the existing terminology of ‘NQT / RQT’ or proposed terminology such as ‘associate teacher’.
- From the options set out in paragraph 47 of the consultation, which of these proposals do you think would help improve the quality and quantity of mentoring for all new teachers?
A review of the existing mentor standards might include a useful process of defining mentoring, coaching and the needs for each of these for an early career teacher. However, we believe it is the development of high-quality mentor training, coupled with an accreditation process for teacher mentors, which will make a real difference in the quality of mentoring practice in schools. By professionalising the role of teacher mentor, and creating an associated career path, the experience for new teachers and the opportunities for teachers later in the career can both be strengthened.
- How else can we improve the quality and quantity of mentoring for all new teachers?
In addition to the development of high-quality mentor training, mentors in schools need recognition and dedicated time to undertake their role. Teacher mentoring should, as proposed later, be seen as a high-status and valued career path. This could also incorporate a lead mentor role, providing an aspirational career goal but also ensuring there is support in place for teacher mentors. Building on the high-quality training, accreditation of teacher mentors will also help to raise their status and recognition, incorporating the opportunity to share examples of high-quality practice and highlight the development benefits for the mentor as well as the mentee.
The role of the mentor in assessment during the foundation period will need to be carefully considered; it is our view that this should not form part of the mentor role, ensuring that the teacher is able to access support without perceiving themselves as being ‘judged’ by their mentor. The benefits and expectations of mentoring need to be clearly articulated alongside the early career content framework to ensure it is valued as developmental, not a hoop to jump through. The relationship between mentoring, teaching and learning and leadership within the school also needs to be effective to ensure a consistent experience for early career teachers.
- How should we ensure that new teachers get sufficient time to focus on their professional development?
We believe that it is critically important, if introducing greater expectations of engagement in CPD and mentoring in the early years of a teacher’s career, that they are given the time for this, and that schools are given appropriate funding to enable this. The level of timetable reduction in each year should therefore reflect level of expectation to some extent, whilst also recognising the many pressures on new teachers. We therefore believe that the timetable reduction of 10% should be continued into the second year. However, it is also important to make sure valuable use is made of this time, with teachers being encouraged to observe expert teachers and engage in their mentoring in a meaningful way.
The proposal for reduction / removal of some non-teaching tasks could be positive but care needs to be taken not to prevent teachers from engaging in valuable experiences. New teachers need the chance to engage with whole-school issues too, but this could be in a more phased approach.
- Do you agree that the QTS assessment should be conducted internally and be independently verified by an appropriate body?
As outlined in the response to a previous question, we believe QTS should remain at the end of ITT; in terms of the proposed foundation period, as mentioned above, the form of assessment will influence how this period is perceived by new teachers, and the question of who conducts this assessment is linked to this. We believe the current assessment arrangements, where assessment is conducted internally and then independently verified by an appropriate body, are the right approach for the proposed new foundation period.
- How do you think we should strengthen the independent verification of QTS accreditation?
All of the proposed approaches - developing more detailed guidance with the Teaching Schools Council and the Local Government Association on what the appropriate body role entails, setting up a national network for appropriate bodies to provide support and a forum for working through issues that arise, and introducing a quality assurance mechanism that might include an accreditation process, whereby appropriate bodies have to apply to take on the role, demonstrating that they understand the requirements - would help to strengthen the quality and consistency of the independent verification of completion of the foundation period.
- What role do you think ITT providers could play in the assessment and accreditation of QTS?
ITT providers should continue to be involved after the completion of ITT and the award of QTS, and thus could have a valuable role in assessment and accreditation of the foundation period. By involving them further into a teacher’s career, teachers will be provided with more continuity and a greater sense of progression. Envisaging teacher training period as encompassing both initial teacher training and the foundation period and mapping the experience across both of these phases will help to provide a consistent experience. If a CPD record were to be introduced, as proposed later in this consultation, this should be adopted at the start of ITT (or even at the point of application to teacher training), providing another point of continuity.
- Do you think we should maintain the limitation on how long a teacher can teach on a supply basis without completing QTS?
Yes, the current arrangement of a five-year limit should remain in place; we believe there are other levers that could also potentially be used here too to support the experience of both supply teachers and the schools in which they work, for example a requirement to undertake CPD on a regular basis.
- What impact do you think this model of a strengthened QTS would have on post-ITT teachers in terms of teaching practice, retention, and morale?
Provided that the proposals are appropriately funded and designed in such a way as to be about entitlement, support, and raising the status of teaching, we believe they will have a positive impact overall on teaching practice, retention, and morale. However, this will only be the case if they are addressed alongside other challenges in the sector, and it is important to recognise that this impact will not be immediate.
- What impact would the proposed model of a strengthened QTS have on the wider school system?
The financial implications of these must not be underestimated and appropriate funding must be provided; however, we believe that it is a worthwhile investment, particularly given the potential impact on recruitment and retention in the long term. A strong foundation period, if done well, will also raise teachers’ expectations of ongoing professional development, support and progression, so the latter part of a teacher’s career must also be considered, particularly in the first 5 years where retention rates remain particularly challenging. It is important to ensure there is appropriate career progression in place for teachers coming through the system, supporting recruitment and retention.
- Are there any other implications that we should consider that have not been addressed above, and what are your suggestions for addressing them?
It is important to ensure that the cliff-edge – where structured support and training end, and workload can become overwhelming – is not just pushed to later in teachers’ careers. Teachers need professional development and mentoring throughout their career, not just at the start and at transition points. This requires a sustained approach, coupled with pathways for teachers who want to remain in the classroom and influence the profession through their specialist expertise or to lead on mentoring or teacher development, as well as for those who aspire to traditional school leadership roles, such as those proposed later in this consultation.
It is also necessary to ensure the capacity to deliver support, mentoring, and quality training is in place – sufficient time and support must be made available for schools in introducing new provision.
There is an important wider question about the relationship between these changes and provision in the early years and Further Education sector, both in terms of ensuring the continued parity between QTS and QTLS, and in terms of ensuring that high-quality professional development and mentoring provision is available to teachers working in all different settings.
- Do you think that there is a market for specialist National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) – or similar – for teachers who aspire to other forms of leadership within the school system?
More specialised leadership NPQs, for example in areas such as leadership of teacher development, research, assessment and more, could be valuable in providing more tailored training and support for teachers aspiring to these roles and in terms of establishing new career pathways. NPQs are currently seen as relating closely to particular roles in the system, so introduction of any new specialist leadership NPQs will be most powerful if aligned to existing and / or new roles with responsibilities for these particular areas.
- If you answered ‘yes’ to question 16, what specialisms should be prioritised for these NPQs (or similar)?
The three areas listed - teacher development, assessment, and curriculum design - are all worthwhile. Other possible areas include mentoring / coaching; research; and pastoral support. However, it is our view that these should be in relationship to whole-school leadership of these areas, for an example as an assessment lead; where a teacher instead wants to hone their practice in their own classroom / with a focus on a particular subject, this should be through the routes outlined in the next section.
- Do you think there is a market for non-leadership NPQs – or similar – aimed at further developing subject expertise? How should they differ between primary and secondary?
We believe there is both need and demand for training and recognition for classroom expertise, related either to subject, phase or other specialism as appropriate to a teacher’s setting. However, we believe that NPQs may not be the right vehicle for this; a focus on becoming an ‘expert teacher’ would be better delivered through existing Chartered Teacher programmes such as those offered by the Chartered College of Teaching or by subject associations and learned societies. The relationship with subject and / or education-focused Masters programmes should also be considered.
For Chartered Teacher Status, subject NPQs or similar training programmes to have wide value and recognition, new roles which are classroom based but involve supporting others by sharing teaching expertise need to be established as a high-status and meaningful career pathway. These expert teacher roles are already used to great effect in some schools and school trusts.
- What additional support should be offered for teachers who work in more challenging schools to undertake further professional qualifications?
There is already a wide range of training and professional qualifications available; however, the cost of these can be substantial. A welcome form of support would be the provision of grants and bursaries, able to be spent on a wide range of CPD activities, including books, release time for online courses or school visits, academic subject-focused programmes, and membership of subject and professional associations as well as more traditional forms of CPD qualifications. Providing time to enable these to take place is also critical and is again related to cost; a CPD entitlement in terms of time and budget, as proposed more widely later, could be appealing. It is also worth considering how to ensure schools in challenging circumstances are able to identify the development needs of their staff and are made aware of opportunities suited to them. This could potentially be supported through the CPD badging scheme and CPD record.
- Do you agree that a CPD badging scheme is something that should be developed? What organisations might be best placed to deliver this service?
We warmly support the idea of introducing a CPD badging scheme – we believe this could help to address the current variability of quality of CPD provision, at very high cost in many cases; even opportunity cost alone can mean poor-quality CPD is more damaging than no CPD at all, but it can be difficult to judge both the quality of courses on offer and the extent to which they are relevant for any given teacher.
Engaging in such a process needs to be done with careful though in terms of what is considered to constitute CPD; it must avoiding narrowing the definition to simply mean courses, and recognise the value of engagement in and with research, professional collaboration, and formal and informal learning which takes place outside of a training room. It is also important to avoid such a scheme meaning that only the largest CPD providers are able to gain accreditation; it should be equally possible for schools to obtain accreditation for their own programmes, where these are high-quality and underpinned by evidence. There is a substantial challenge in how to measure and evaluate the quality of professional development, in its many forms, on a national scale. It will require a nuanced approach to judging quality and effectiveness, centred on its impact on both teachers and pupils.
The involvement of and relationship with teachers in this process will be critical; it is important to recognise that the usefulness and impact of a CPD course does not only relate directly to the course itself, but also to whether it meets the needs of the teacher engaging in it at that particular point in their development. We believe a CPD badging scheme for suppliers could be usefully linked to the CPD record proposed later in this consultation, connecting teachers’ experiences and the impact of CPD undertaken with external accreditation of these suppliers.
The Chartered College would be keen to support other organisations in undertaking such a scheme, with our particular focus being on ensuring its usefulness for teachers, not just suppliers, and in ensuring it includes an element which helps teachers to identify appropriate courses for their needs. There are many organisations who could usefully undertake some or all of the elements required to develop a CPD badging scheme, including verifying the quality of the CPD delivery, its underpinning research evidence, and its impact and evaluation; critically, organisations and institutions with substantial experience and expertise in teacher development and in research and impact evaluation should be involved.
- How should government incentivise effective professional development for teachers, particularly in the areas and schools where it is most needed?
All of the proposed areas - clearer entitlements to CPD (including a minimum number of hours of relevant CPD), the development of a national CPD framework for early career teachers similar to that proposed for NQTs, ring-fenced funding for CPD in schools where it is most needed, and the introduction of a personal CPD record - could help to incentivise professional development for teachers, provided they are implemented in the right way and with appropriate support and funding. They would also send a powerful message about the value attached in the system to teachers engaging in professional development, and if a culture of ongoing development is established in a teacher’s ITT and foundation period, they will be well-placed to take advantage of these new structures.
Any approach needs to recognise both the needs and motivation of the individual teacher and the needs and motivation of their school in terms of professional development and the need to balance these. It is critical that ideas such as a ‘CPD entitlement’ are established and designed to ensure teachers are given access to high quality CPD provision which reflects the nuances discussed above about what counts as CPD – for example, this should include reading, coaching and mentoring, engaging with research, participating in Twitter chats, observing expert teachers and a wide range of other formal and informal professional development activities, as well as engaging in CPD courses. Equally, a ring-fenced budget could be very powerful if teachers are given the opportunity to choose appropriate professional development activities to meet their needs, supported by their school.
The potential of introducing a CPD record which is personal to and useful for a teacher could have significant value, but should be carefully designed and tested to ensure the approach does not create unnecessary workload; however, a CPD record which is simple to use, allowing collation of resources, reading, course programmes etc and which also gives a teacher space to reflect on their experiences and could also be used as part of their career development could be useful. This should be designed to be for the benefit of teacher, not as a form of external monitoring, or its value will be undermined. It could easily be linked / related to the CPD provider badging, ensuring the prominence of a teacher’s voice and experience.
- How can government best support the development of a genuine culture of mentoring in schools?
- Creation of specialist NPQs that includes focus on mentoring and coaching
- Provide guidance on what effective mentoring looks like
- Collaborate with the Chartered College of Teaching in their work to identify and accredit high-quality mentor programmes
- Fund the provision of high-quality mentor training
- Work with teaching schools to identify how they can help build capacity for mentor development among school leaders
- Build mentoring leadership into the existing NPQ curriculum
There is a huge amount which can be done to help establish a culture of mentoring in schools; we believe all of the areas listed here would contribute to this. To develop a culture of mentoring in schools, we need to establish a culture in the system where it is valued and developed, and this requires collaboration from a range of organisations, including schools, HEIs, training providers, teaching schools, subject associations, and the Chartered College of Teaching. There is already much exemplary practice in place which could usefully be shared.
At the heart of what is needed is approaches to professionalise the role of the mentor, alongside recognition of the benefits of mentoring to the mentor as well as the mentee and an expectation of career-long mentoring and coaching. Related to this, there is a need for time and role recognition of mentors in schools, but this is also critical to the success of the proposals in the first half of this consultation.
Accreditation and quality assurance of mentors and of mentor training is also key; there is a need for a set of coaching and mentoring standards which apply for mentoring and coaching at different stages of a teacher’s career, rather than simply during ITT, and framework for quality assurance and accreditation of mentoring programmes. There are many high-quality programmes, but the focus and content of others is variable and this can lead to a lack of consistency in what is understood by mentoring and coaching and how effective mentoring can be.
The proposal here to provide guidance on effective mentoring also has significant value – we propose this should comprise guides, research reviews, learning and assessment materials for use by individuals and by providers offering training in mentoring or coaching, and should include written material, video examples, case studies and assessment tools.
- Do you think that a fund to pilot sabbaticals would be a positive step for the profession?
We believe that sabbaticals have the potential to play in important role in improving recruitment, retention and skills in the system, so we would warmly welcome the funding of a pilot in this area. There should be flexibility in how these are approached, with the option to take either a full-time sabbatical or a part-time sabbatical whilst continuing to work in school, enabling teachers to study or undertake research related to their practice for example. The value of these sabbaticals should be felt both by the individual and by their school and colleagues.
- What would the impact be for teachers and schools of enabling more teachers to take sabbaticals, providing they are related to their teaching practice?
We believe the introduction of sabbaticals will have a positive impact on the individual and on their colleagues and schools, as well as on those they work with during their sabbatical where they choose to, for example, work in industry or engage in study or research. It also has the potential to establish a culture whereby teachers who want to explore other professional interests for a time feel able to move out of the teaching profession for a short period of time then return, rather than these teachers leaving the system altogether. It is worth noting that it is our opinion that sabbaticals ‘related to their teaching practice’ should include undertaking higher study or work in their own subject area, rather than this being required to be directly focused on teaching.