Welcome for two-year QTS plan

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Proposals to strengthen qualified teacher status (QTS) could help to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in schools, but only if they come alongside government action to tackle workload issues, school leaders have said.

The Department for Education’s (DfE) proposals, unveiled for consultation last month, include doubling the period before teachers gain QTS from one to two years.

Also proposed is “stronger” mentoring provision for new teachers, the expansion of professional qualifications to include “specialisms to promote specialist career pathways”, and the creation of government guidance covering CPD entitlements. Other ideas include a pilot fund for work-related sabbaticals.

If approved, these plans would become statutory from September 2019 and be applied to those starting their initial teacher training from that point onwards.

The changes would mean that after their initial teacher training, teachers would be awarded Provisional QTS. They would then undertake a two-year induction period in school before receiving full QTS.

The consultation states: “We must maintain a rigorous and meaningful end of ITT certification, which celebrates the achievements of trainee teachers.

“However, as with other top professions, we recognise that time and experience is needed to develop the core knowledge and skills essential to great teaching, so we propose that the new QTS should be awarded after two years of classroom practice.

“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.

“We recognise that reducing this may have a negative impact on recruitment and would not support the objective of improving the professionalism and attractiveness of teaching.”

Meanwhile, the proposal for CPD guidance is referred to as “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”.

The Association of School and College Leaders broadly welcomed the plans for a two-year induction period and the focus on CPD and better mentoring provision.

However, deputy general secretary Malcolm Trobe warned that the DfE must not ignore workload in its plans to boost teacher recruitment and retention.

He said: “These proposals – carefully managed and, most crucially, fully funded – have the potential to go some way to addressing the on-going teacher recruitment and retention crisis. They can, however, only be part of the solution.

“Issues such as teacher and school leader workload, and the high-stakes nature of the accountability regime, must also be addressed, as part of an overarching strategy to ensure we have sufficient numbers of high-quality teachers to educate and inspire young people.”

The National Education Union said the proposals had “a lot of potential”. However, joint general secretary Kevin Courtney warned: “It will depend on whether the promised additional training during the first years is properly resourced and funded and is of high-quality.”

James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, while welcoming much of the consultation, is concerned about the term “QTS Provisional”.

He said: “We are concerned that use of the term QTS Provisional for the post-training status of new teachers could dissuade people from entering the profession. We could prefer to keep the award as QTS, with something like ‘embedded’ or ‘reconfirmed’ QTS awarded after two years in the classroom.”

  • The consultation, Strengthening qualified teacher status and career progression, closes on March 9. Visit http://bit.ly/2zja6F6


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