Department for Education Consultation
The DfE has recently launched a consultation on Strengthening Qualified Teacher Status and improving career progression for teachers. The consultation closes on 9th March 2018. NTA will be providing a full response to this consultation. If you would like to provide thoughts or comments to inform this response, please email us (admin@NTA.org.uk) by 7th March 2018.
The main proposals are summarised below. Given the importance of this consultation, we are providing a very full briefing for NTA registered schools and MATs.
Reform of QTS
The commitment to introduce a strengthened QTS by September 2019 applies to trainees starting their ITT that year, so the impact on most schools and new teachers will only be felt from September 2020.
The DfE started by asking what a strengthened QTS needs to entail in order for this reform to have a meaningful impact. Through discussion with the profession, there is now a focus on two key areas:
- A core, structured early career content framework for NQTs, covering what all new teachers need to know or be able to do, with access to high-quality, relevant CPD to make this a reality. This will be designed with the profession, including with Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers to ensure continuity between ITT and the induction period.
- A stronger mentoring provision for all new teachers, in line with other professions and the best of what already happens in some schools. This could include improving the quality of mentoring provision, strengthening the statutory expectations on the induction tutor/mentor, and promoting mentoring as a professional skill that should be developed as part of a career pathway.
The lead proposal is that the current one-year induction period should be lengthened to two years. An extended period would, the consultation proposes, provide new teachers with more opportunity to develop their professional practice, and embed the benefits that the core components will offer.
It is proposed that QTS (provisional) will be awarded at the end of ITT, and QTS awarded at the end of the induction period. The DfE is not proposing any changes to ITT as part of this consultation, except for the name of the award granted at the end of ITT.
It is proposed that teachers who complete ITT will have the same rights and protections as current NQTs. Salaries post-ITT will still be on the qualified teacher pay scale, and teachers in their second year will have the same entitlements to pay progression that they currently have.
Professional development in the induction period
There is a proposal for a structured early career content framework that is adaptable to the needs of the individual teacher but ensures that all new teachers develop in key competencies. The content of this framework will complement ITT, and will mirror, to an extent, the purpose of the existing ITT core content framework, forming a coherent narrative from one stage to the next.
The DfE wants to work with the sector experts to define and develop the content of this framework. They propose that this will be a set of core knowledge and professional skills that all teachers should have developed to a certain standard during their time as an NQT, in order to be awarded QTS.
Assessment and accreditation
The consultation documents states that several Appropriate Bodies have developed their own guidance, building on the Teachers’ Standards, to help with NQT assessment. It is proposed to produce national guidance that draws on the best of what has been developed already to articulate more clearly what ‘an appropriate level’ might mean for a teacher being assessed for QTS. This will be designed by the profession and linked intrinsically to the early career content framework.
And there is a proposal to strengthen the independent verification of QTS accreditation by Appropriate Bodies.
It is proposed that a teacher can teach on a supply basis if they hold QTS(P), but only for a limited number of years, by which time they must have started their QTS period.
Post-QTS teacher career progression and leadership
The DfE recognises that there are gaps in the provision of qualifications between the award of QTS and existing National Professional Qualifications (NPQs). There is very little formal provision for teachers between these two career stages, or for those who want to remain as expert classroom teachers.
The consultation document offers considers an option to expand the provision of NPQs to include specialisms. The consultation posits that NPQs are a reputable, recognised and valued qualification, which makes them attractive to teachers and school leaders, and they are national and thus portable between schools. Specialist NPQs could include teacher development, assessment or curriculum design.
An alternative is to revisit the current NPQs, on a longer timescale, and introduce specialisms within these rather than creating new programmes. For example, an NPQ for Middle Leadership (NPQML) with Teacher Development, or an NPQ for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) with Assessment.
NPQs are not the only route for this. Other qualifications or CPD could also be appropriate. For example, it may be more appropriate for the Chartered College of Teaching to develop or accredit qualifications that meet this need.
Badging of CPD and further CPD
The consultation proposes commissioning an independent external body to ‘badge’ high-quality CPD that has been well-designed and will be effectively delivered, to help school leaders navigate the market. CPD providers would be able to put themselves forward to be assessed against the Standards for Professional Development and the latest evidence.
The consultation considers a number of options for individual CPD, including:
- Strengthen the statutory requirements for professional development by setting out clearer entitlements to CPD, including potentially a recommended minimum number of hours of relevant, high-quality CPD to be undertaken annually.
- The development of a national CPD framework for early career teachers (post-QTS), similar to that proposed for NQTs.
- Commit to ring-fencing funding for CPD in schools where it is most needed.
- The introduction of a personal CPD record, similar to those offered by a variety of other professions, and some other educational jurisdictions, including Wales.
Mentoring and sabbaticals
The consultation posits that the quality of mentoring provision in schools is very mixed. In addition to exploring how best to strengthen the mentoring offer for NQTs, the DfE wants to explore how we can support the building of a culture of mentoring leadership in schools, including working with senior leaders to resolve staffing and timetabling issues. In order for mentoring to become more fully embedded, the consultation proposes that the role of the mentor needs to have appropriate status and recognition in the school system.
The DfE will explore options for sabbaticals for some teachers, so long as the sabbatical contributes positively to the education system, either locally or nationally. They are seeking views on the benefits of setting up a sabbatical fund, for which teachers who have been qualified and teaching for at least seven years can apply.