Strengthening Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and Improving Career Progression for Teachers

Closes 9 Mar 2018

Post-QTS: Professional Qualifications

The diagram below maps out the variety of opportunities that are already available, including those that are being developed, and how they relate to each other. 

Diagram mapping out the key proposals in the consultation. It outlines the principles of each stage of development, from a focus on self-improvement and improving practice in the early career, to a focus on area or school improvement, to a focus on system-level improvement.

16. Do you think that there is a market for specialist National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) – or similar – for teachers who aspire to other forms of leadership within the school system?

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We have worked with leaders in the profession to improve the NPQ framework, and recently announced the range of providers who have successfully bid to deliver new NPQs from this autumn. These qualifications offer professional development for teachers who are on the route to leadership roles and offer a framework for progression. However, we think that there is a gap in the market for teachers who do not aspire to ‘traditional’ leadership positions, but who want to build their pedagogical or other specialist leadership capabilities.

One option to consider is expanding the provision of NPQs to include specialisms. NPQs are a reputable, recognised and valued qualification, which makes them attractive to teachers and school leaders, and they are national and thus portable between schools. Specialist NPQs could include teacher development, assessment or curriculum design. These NPQs would be targeted at teachers with several years of teaching experience who want to progress and develop their leadership in more specialist areas, but do not necessarily aspire to traditional school management positions.

An alternative is to revisit the current NPQs, on a longer timescale, and introduce specialisms within these rather than creating new programmes. For example an NPQ for Middle Leadership (NPQML) with Teacher Development, or an NPQ for Senior Leadership (NPQSL) with Assessment. These would not replace the current NPQs, but promote alternative leadership pathways, and develop deep expertise in particular areas.

NPQs are not the only route for this; other qualifications or CPD could also be appropriate. We want to simplify rather than complicate the market. For example, it may be more appropriate for the Chartered College of Teaching to develop or accredit qualifications that meet this need. Regardless, the qualifications should confer a particular status on the holder, and represent leadership capabilities. They should be designed to meet the needs of schools, including aligning with particular job roles in schools.

17. If you answered ‘yes’ to question 16, what specialisms should be prioritised for these NPQs (or similar)?

18. Do you think there is a market for non-leadership NPQs – or similar – aimed at further developing subject expertise? How should they differ between primary and secondary?

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While other pathways to leadership are important, and professional qualifications can help facilitate these pathways, there is still a gap for those teachers who want to hone their practice further before embarking on a leadership pathway, or those who want to develop their classroom expertise without the additional responsibilities that come with leadership positions. We are supporting the development of the Chartered College of Teaching’s new Chartered Teacher Status, which lasts 14 months and will begin in January with a pilot cohort. Chartered Teacher Status (CTeach) will recognise the knowledge, skills and behaviours of excellent teachers, highlighting the importance of their expertise in improving outcomes for children and young people. Assessments completed as part of the programme will cover deep subject knowledge, understanding of pedagogy and assessment, and excellent classroom practice, as well as critical evaluation, engagement with research evidence and contribution to the profession.  

Building subject expertise is crucial in these years, so in addition to the new and existing provision, we think that there may be an appetite to expand the provision of NPQs below the current NPQML provision, and develop subject specialist NPQs for classroom teachers, again building on the nationally recognised brand and quality. This is exemplified in the diagram on page 31 of the consultation. These would focus on using evidence-informed practice, employing subject-specific teaching methods, and enabling teachers to keep up with the latest developments in their subject. However, we would need to be confident that there is a demand for this, and that it is a different development offer from CTeach. There would be nothing to prevent teachers doing a subject specialist NPQ before or after CTeach, for example, depending on their own professional development needs. It could be designed to prepare a teacher for CTeach accreditation. We need to ensure that any new professional qualifications are aligned with existing provision, and complement it, rather than bringing additional complexity into the system.

19. What additional support should be offered for teachers who work in more challenging schools to undertake further professional qualifications?

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We are particularly interested in incentivising teachers in more challenging schools to achieve further professional qualifications. We will look at options to promote and enable further professional qualifications for specialist leaders and expert teachers to schools in more challenging circumstances. We think that this could be a mechanism for encouraging the best teachers to work in the most challenging schools, as well as a way of developing the talent already in these schools. We have already announced the Teacher Development Premium, which will provide high-quality CPD for teachers and leaders working in areas that have previously fallen behind.