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The Chartered Teacher Programme: Another stick to beat teachers with

June 5, 2017

Yesterday, the following details of the latest from the Chartered College Of Teaching were leaked to me. I assume these are genuine, if not, please let me know and I will remove this post as quickly as possible. This is, as I understand it, a draft of the principles that will be used when awarding the status of “Chartered Teacher”.

The Chartered Teacher Programme – Professional Principles Framework – Draft

The Professional Principles Framework will define the level of accomplishment across three key domains which teachers will need to achieve in order to be awarded Chartered Teacher status. The framework will:

  • provide clarity to all teachers of the competencies that underpin excellence in teaching as supported by a body of evidence;
  • enable all teachers to self-assess their values, knowledge and practice against the competencies and use this to guide their professional development;
  • provide a structured career path for those teachers who wish to progress within their career whilst remaining in the classroom;
  • encourage collaboration between teachers and their peers, and between teachers and the wider teaching profession.

The three key domains of the Chartered Teacher Professional Principles Framework are:

  1. Professional values.
  2. Professional knowledge and understanding.
  3. Professional practice.

These domains are set out below.

Professional values

Chartered Teachers embody five core professional values:

  1. Sustained commitment to critical self-evaluation and career-long professional learning.
  2. Commitment to, and advocate for, all learners, their learning and their wellbeing.
  3. Commitment to education for social justice.
  4. Demonstration of the highest level of integrity and professionalism.
  5. Professional engagement to create a strong community for learning.

Professional knowledge and understanding

Chartered Teachers have a developed knowledge and understanding across five key areas:

  1. Pedagogical knowledge.
  2. Subject knowledge.
  3. Learner development and context.
  4. Enquiry and research.
  5. Curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

Professional practice

The classroom practice of a Chartered Teacher is characterised by five key elements:

  1. Extending pedagogical knowledge continually through engagement with evidence and research.
  2. Creating an optimal environment for teaching and learning for all learners.
  3. Planning and preparing effective, inspiring learning opportunities.
  4. Teaching high-quality, engaging lessons for learner progress.
  5. Critical evaluation of own practice for improved impact on learner outcomes.

Most of this is what you’d expect when a bureaucracy writes about education: lists of aims and values without any sense of priority. If theories of learner development conflict with research evidence about pedagogy, then which should chartered teachers follow? If “an optimal environment for learning” isn’t one with “inspiring learning opportunities”, which should come first? Like the old lesson observation checklists with 4 dozen items on, where contradictory principles are piled together like this, we get a situation where all judgements can be justified. Anyone could be judged to have met or to have failed to meet these principles, just on the basis of which principles those making the judgement prioritise.

On top of that, a number of items are heavily loaded.

Do we really want teachers to be judged on whether they have a “Commitment to education for social justice”? How could that ever be anything other than a judgement as to whether they have the right politics? How about being “advocates for” the “wellbeing” of all learners? “Wellbeing” can refer to being an amateur therapist or substitute parent (and why are they “learners” not students, pupils or children?) Finally, there is a huge step backward towards judging lessons for their entertainment value. “inspiring learning opportunities” and “engaging lessons for learner progress” sound like something from an OFSTED report from 2012. Why would any teacher whose priority is the learning of their classes want to be judged on that basis? I’ve written before about the misuse of engagement (as have many other bloggers) and inspiration. These terms have been used to condemn teachers for not being entertaining enough.

Of course, at the heart of this is a problem with a professional body set up by non-teachers. It is a body that will seek to judge, classify and assess teachers rather than support them. Like many teachers, I always want to learn more about teaching and would welcome a professional body that can provide knowledge and support, but I will oppose any body that tries to judge teachers. Being a “chartered teacher” will have the same value as having your lessons rated “outstanding” by OFSTED or qualifying as an AST did, it will mark somebody out as “playing the game”, having a willingness to do and say what some authority figure wanted them to do or say. It is not what teachers need; it is a stick to beat teachers with.

Update 5/6/2017: I have now been sent, but not given permission to release, a later draft of this, with most of the contentious parts removed. The later version and some explanatory material can be found here.

 

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11 comments

  1. This is appalling. I can’t see Nick Gibb or Lord Nash having much enthusiasm for a scheme like this, but I’m not sure what they could do about it.


    • I would want it looked into before anything else and whether it constitutes indirect discrimination. I’m serious about this as they can’t insist on agreement of disputed ideas such as whether teachers should act as advocates or use of social justice instead of term equality. Former is a far left idea not one from poltiical mainstream.


      • Social justice has been used as a slogan by many groups, not just the far left. But all of them are explicitly political.


        • When an organisation is heavily sided towards the left then it’s not too difficult to believe that this is the definition it will use. You are being asked to commit to the politiical aspects while you only have to engage with the evidence.


  2. Despite the fact that a lot of my blog is aimed at highlighting where schools and teachers are getting it wrong – it’s more about the systems and structures that overburden teachers and give them too many ‘non-core’ responsibilities or forces them to step outside their respective wheelhouses. This feels like yet another ‘scheme’ or arbitrary hoop to be seen to jump through. If teachers were given the time, funding and latitude to simply get on and teach, one can’t help but think that the education system would be all together much more robust and enthusiastic young teachers wouldn’t be fleeing the profession in record numbers. How anyone can be expected to thrive in an environment of constantly shifting sands is beyond me.


  3. Yes, this reads like a set of teacher standards circa 2005. A better approach to make CTeach meaningful would have been to look at the requirements for chartered status in other, well-established (& respected) professional bodies.
    In these, the criteria are clear and robust. It starts with a requirement to hold and maintain a body of core professional knowledge – for a secondary teacher this would equate to the specialist subject area, to the equivalent of masters level. Then the requirement for appropriate levels of professional experience, applying that knowledge in your work – in general terms, this would typically include: evaluating data critically and applying logical conclusions to solving problems; making effective use of resources; planning and implementing projects; developing capabilities of people; exerting appropriate influence and effective leadership qualities… The question then would be how to translate these requirements into teachers’ circumstances. E.g. developing and implementing solutions across a department to address pupil learning and/or teacher performance. But anything which smacks of a tick-box list of accountabilities must surely be avoided. What we have in this draft seems more like a failure of imagination than anything more sinister.

    PS. I note that the CCOT have now said this is an early draft which will be revised imminently; in my experience, first drafts don’t tend to change much in substance unless someone has the courage to scrap them and work from entirely different principles. Let’s see.

    PPS. It may not be relevant in a few days’ time, but the point above about Nick Gibb is quite right. Most in education know he’s not a fan of ‘learners’. 🙂


  4. […] was being alarmist and such standards would only be about ethical behaviour. Not so, it now seems. A leaked draft of the standards suggests that the College is intent on setting a standard for the way teachers are to teach and in […]


  5. You have a point. Some assumptions there about common understandings of terms as if they are not disputed. I have replied to their questionnaire with misgivings, though I don’t care what Gibb (or any other Tory) would think and I’m happy to support the concept of ‘social justice’.


  6. Yes, this reads like a set of teacher standards circa 2005. A better approach to make CTeach meaningful would have been to look at the requirements for chartered status in other, well-established (& respected) professional bodies.
    In these, the criteria are clear and robust. It starts with a requirement to hold and maintain a body of core professional knowledge, being an Essay Champ
    – for a secondary teacher this would equate to the specialist subject area, to the equivalent of masters level. Then the requirement for appropriate levels of professional experience, applying that knowledge in your work – in general terms, this would typically include: evaluating data critically and applying logical conclusions to solving problems; making effective use of resources; planning and implementing projects; developing capabilities of people; exerting appropriate influence and effective leadership qualities… The question then would be how to translate these requirements into teachers’ circumstances. E.g. developing and implementing solutions across a department to address pupil learning and/or teacher performance. But anything which smacks of a tick-box list of accountabilities must surely be avoided. What we have in this draft seems more like a failure of imagination than anything more sinister.


  7. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.


  8. […] body for teachers which aims to support them in gaining expertise. This has received a mixed response from some […]



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