One of the most significant events affecting CPD over the next year will be the revised national standards.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) has announced a consultation process that it hopes will result in a coherent set of standards covering professionals working in education. ‘We want’, it says, ‘teachers, coaches and mentors, headteachers and ITT providers – the people who use the professional development standards most, and know them best – to help us shape the standards of the future’. 

The TDA have devised a questionnaire covering standards for qualified teacher status (QTS), induction, senior teacher (threshold), advanced skills teacher and the new position of excellent teacher. Draft standards ‘based upon your input’ will be published in January or February and, after a further opportunity to comment, there will be a presentation to the secretary of state in April 2006. Implementation is planned for September 2006.

What is proposed is not, say the TDA, a ‘root and branch recasting of the standards’. There is, however, a need to develop a shared understanding of standards and clearly they need to be more coherent and progressive.

‘The structure of the school workforce is changing, teachers and other school staff are together making a contribution to pupils’ learning and the standards will need to be revised to reflect the role of the teacher within this wider team and also within multi-disciplinary teams in schools and other settings.’

The TDA are seeking to ‘establish clear career pathways for teachers [leading] to better, more focused professional development choices’.

Taking part in the electronic consultation process is relatively straightforward. There are different questions for teachers according to responsibilities, experience and type of school, with opportunity to type in personal recommendations. The TDA are also organising face-to-face consultation.

CPD Update has referred before to the revision of standards, making the point that they will create a framework for much of the continuing professional development of teachers and fellow professionals working in education. The one standard that will be new is that for excellent teacher status. There is likely to be, however, a considerable overlap with the standard for advanced skills teacher. Both stress involvement with CPD.

The revision of national standards should be seen in relation to a wider set of new policies, including the proposed single inspectorate, extended schools and the new professionalism.

Ruth Kelly has spoken about the ‘family of schools’. Clearly it is government’s intention to establish a wide variety of schools. It is not yet clear how members of this family will relate to each other. The revised national standards, however, will determine the relationships within the family of teachers and related professionals.

In order to take part in the consultation exercise electronically go to www.tda.gov.uk/teachers/currentconsultations

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