Government plans to strengthen QTS status

DfE launches consultation aimed at improving career progression for teachers

Published on 18th December 2017

The government has unveiled plans aimed at attracting more teachers into the profession and to improve development opportunities for existing education staff.

The proposals in a consultation on strengthening Qualified Teacher Status and improving career progression for teachers, include plans to boost the support and mentoring available to new teachers.

The overall period before teachers gain Qualified Teacher Status could also be extended to enable this, giving even greater standing to the teaching profession and preparing teachers for a successful career.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said: “We’re taking steps to make sure high-quality professional development is a fundamental part of a teacher’s career, whether they decide to move into a leadership role or want to continue teaching the classroom. These new measures aim to boost that support from the moment they start their career.”

Under the proposals, a newly strengthened QTS will be introduced from September 2019. Currently, in order to gain QTS in England, teachers must successfully complete a period of initial training provided by an accredited ITT provider in England and be recommended by them for the award of QTS. Following successful completion of ITT and the award of QTS, teachers must then complete a statutory induction period, during which time they are known as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT), in order to work in a maintained school. This normally takes three school terms.

However, the document outlines that the current one-year induction period should be lengthened to two years. An extended period would “provide teachers with more opportunity to develop their professional practice, and embed the benefits that the core components will offer,” it says.

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.

The government states that it wants to remove the ‘cliff-edge’ between ITT and starting teaching, with structured support continuing beyond the first year.

The plans include 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.

This framework would significantly extend what is already taught in ITT, and could potentially include:

  • Subject and curriculum knowledge
  • Evidence-based pedagogy, including subject-specific pedagogy
  • Use of and engagement with evidence
  • Behaviour management
  • Use and understanding of assessment
  • Supporting pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

The document also outlines the government’s commitment to increasing the use of mentoring. It asks how the government can develop a culture of mentoring for all teachers, but specifically strengthening the mentoring entitlement for new teachers and early career teachers.

It highlights how research shows that it can positively affect morale, behaviour, motivation, and career outcomes, and in the schools context, effective mentoring is central to successful early professional development, and has an impact on pupil outcomes.

The government proposes commissioning the development of high-quality training for mentors, or expanding the provision of existing training if of sufficient quality. This should build knowledge of what strong mentoring looks like, and how to manage mentoring in conjunction with other workload pressures. The plans suggest the government will consider making it mandatory for all schools.

The consultation also asks how new teachers can ensure that they have sufficient time to concentrate on CPD. “Enabling new teachers to have sufficient time to focus on their development, while ensuring other teachers are not unduly affected and schools are able to manage staffing, is a significant challenge, and we welcome responses on how best to respond to this,” it says.

The consultation will be open until 9 March 2018 and was designed with input from an advisory group made up of experts – teachers and heads, academics and sector leaders, unions, the Chartered College of Teaching and the Teacher Development Trust.

Dame Alison Peacock, chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching said: “We are delighted that the government is looking at ways to ensure that all teachers have access to high quality professional development and mentoring throughout their career. The proposals are also focused on giving the teachers the status and recognition for expertise that they so much deserve, through the strengthening of QTS and the development of progression routes that enable them to stay in the classroom.

“Along with a sustained focus on teacher workload, these proposals have the potential to begin to address the retention challenges facing the teaching profession,” she added.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers said: “We’ve been calling for government to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in teaching for four years. The proposals for the reform of QTS are a welcome step in the right direction in strengthening the status of the teaching profession. There is an urgent need to both recruit and retain new teachers, and to focus on wider career development that will support career longevity. Properly resourced, this has the potential to make teaching an attractive profession. It forms one element of a desperately needed programme of measures to resolve the recruitment and retention crisis faced by schools.

“We are broadly in favour of the proposed two-year QTS and welcome the Department for Education’s confirmation that pre-QTS teachers would be paid on the qualified teacher scale. This must be accompanied by structured core Continuing Professional Development to ensure continuity and development between Initial Teacher Training, Pre-Qualified Teacher Status and QTS. It’s vital that it leads to the development of professional skills and competencies, as well as high-quality mentoring; protected development time for teachers in the PQTS period for schools.

“Schools cannot deliver the extended QTS period without the additional funding to deliver it, including training for mentors and release from curriculum time.

“The consultation also speaks encouragingly of professional development for existing teachers, which again we welcome. But government must ensure that all schools have the budget to deliver these improvements for the profession as a whole. Focusing only on areas of challenge will not deliver the government’s ambition,” he added.

The consultation on strengthening Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and improving career progression for teachers is available here.



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