Raising the bar for teachers

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All teachers will be expected to meet new standards of competence and conduct from September 2012, following an independent review of the skills that teachers should possess.

The review, carried out by Sally Coates, Principal of Burlington Danes Academy in West London, made a number of recommendations, which have been  accepted by the government. They include:

  • Improving the rigour of teaching standards and ensuring they focus more on the essential teaching skills required in the classroom.
  • Recommending a single set of standards for all teachers, replacing the current duplication of different standards issued from different bodies – reducing them to just eight standards for teaching from 33 standards for QTS and 41 for Core and to just three standards for personal and professional conduct from the eight principles in the GTCE Code.
  • Setting a clear expectation that teachers must not undermine fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

The standards place a sharp focus on the key elements of teaching – including subject knowledge, managing behaviour and teaching pupils with a variety of special needs – and will set a clear and unambiguous benchmark for teachers, regardless of whether they are newly qualified or have been in post for many years.
 
The Government launched the review because more than a third of teachers do not feel the existing standards provide a good definition of teacher competence and 41 per cent believe they do not make any difference to the way they teach.
 
The new standards will aim to:

  • help headteachers assess teacher performance
  • provide clear requirements on teachers having skills to tackle bad pupil behaviour
  • make sure that teachers are able to teach the core basics of reading and writing, including understanding systematic synthetic phonics.

Michael Gove said the new standards will make a significant improvement to teaching by ensuring teachers can focus on the skills that matter most.

Greg Wallace, Executive Principal of the Best Start Federation of schools in Hackney, said: "We’ve been using synthetic phonics as our primary ‘learn to read’ strategy for the last decade. Over that period I’ve consistently seen synthetic phonics serve children with a very wide range of needs incredibly well.
 
"Given what we know about the effective teaching of reading, the expectation that all primary teachers should know how to use this method expertly is long overdue. I am thrilled to see the use of synthetic phonics enshrined in the new national standards for teachers because all children have the right to be taught to read as early – and as quickly – as possible."

The second phase of the review will look at the standards required for advanced skills teachers and excellent teachers.

Professional Development Today
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