Tags: CPD | CPD Coordinator | Headteacher | School Leadership & Management | Standards

Talking in his constituency on 18 November Tony Blair once again made it clear to his critics that the white paper Higher Standards, Better Schools for All is key to his plans for education and economic regeneration: ‘I am so restless for change… because whilst there remain schools, not some, hundreds of them, where fewer than half of the children get the results they need at 16, when for all the progress there are still 17,000 children that leave school every year without any qualifications…’.

He went on to say that none of the government’s reforms have been easy, but that in each case they are working: ‘Almost all academies were over-subscribed on opening, and… 1,300 failing schools have been turned around, and half a million pupils benefited.

‘There are business foundations, charities and voluntary organisations with the energy, resources and commitment to partner schools in transformation. There are headteachers with the ambition to transform, there are higher quality teachers who want to play their part in assisting that transformation, and above all, there are parents who know that the dream that their children can do better than they did depends on high quality education.’

The prime minister looks forward to schools becoming self-governing with a range of partners and new providers being brought in. He envisages some schools expanding while others that are judged to be not good enough will either close or be taken over.

Responses to the speech have been mixed. David Cameron, the shadow education secretary, felt that the proposed reforms were half-hearted. Charles Kennedy, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, expressed concern that the prime minister was riding ‘roughshod over reasoned argument and criticism’.

Reform or turmoil?

The major point for coordinators and leaders of CPD was, however, made by Alex Alexandrou of the International Professional Development Association (IPDA) based in the UK.

He told CPD Update: ‘Just a short while ago in England we had a national strategy for CPD that was created by the DfES working with key stakeholders with targeted and earmarked funds to support the professional development of teachers and associated professionals. First funds were removed without warning or negotiation, then the DfES, again without consultation, was stripped of more than 30% of its staff and now No 10 has put itself in charge of education policy and all the cards have been thrown up in the air.

‘There seems to be a lack of awareness that the way to improve must involve solid, quiet professional development carried out in an atmosphere free from threats to the careers of teachers. Re-structuring schools every few years is not the way to improve. How does a professional develop when the system is set to be in turmoil? The prime minister says he is “restless”; now everyone else is condemned to join him.’

The full speech can be read at: www.number10.gov.uk/output/page8547.asp

The white paper can be seen at: www.dfes.gov.uk/publications/schoolswhitepaper

Accreditation for teacher training mentors

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) and the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE), operating in partnership, have launched a scheme by which more than 25,000 teachers who mentor trainees can benefit from professional recognition for their work.

Each year approximately 40,000 trainee teachers undertaking their school-based practice are supported by mentors. A new partnership between the TDA and the GTCE will offer them professional recognition for their experience and expertise as mentors through the GTCE Teacher Learning Academy (TLA).

All initial teacher training (ITT) mentors in England will be eligible to put forward a stage one submission to the TLA including evidence of work already carried out as an integral part of the mentor’s role. Successful submission to the TLA may be used as evidence for career development.

In addition, mentors in six pilot regions will be able to submit to stages two and three of the TLA. Optional academic accreditation through partnerships with higher education institutions will also be available.

Carol Adams, chief executive of the GTCE sees the role of mentor as having been under-recognised and Graham Holley, executive director at the TDA says that: ‘The formal recognition they can now receive will be useful for those looking to develop their teaching careers…’

Further details available at: www.gtce.org.uk

This article first appeared in CPD Update – Dec 2005

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