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

Closes 9 Mar 2018

Post-QTS: Continuing Professional Development and Mentoring

20. Do you agree that a CPD badging scheme is something that should be developed? What organisations might be best placed to deliver this service?

21. How should government incentivise effective professional development for teachers, particularly in the areas and schools where it is most needed?

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We asked a question about what would incentivise effective professional development for teachers in the World Class Teaching Profession consultation, launched in December 2014. Responses included incentivising collaboration between the best and worst performing schools, providing incentives for poor performing schools to invest in and embed developing practice, more use of subject-specific development, greater emphasis on research in schools, a professional development contractual obligation, and ring-fenced funding. Since that consultation was published, we have supported the establishment of the Chartered College of Teaching, we have set up a Professional Development Expert Group, who designed the new Standard for Professional Development, and we have invested £75m in the new Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund (TLIF), to support high-quality professional development in the areas of the country that need it most.

We would like to invite views on specific ways in which we could further build on this work, and continue to incentivise effective professional development. In particular, how should we develop an enhanced offer to support those working with the children who can benefit the most. There are a number of options that could have a further positive impact for individual CPD, including:

  • Strengthen the statutory requirements for professional development by setting out clearer entitlements to CPD, including potentially a recommended minimum number of hours of relevant, high-quality CPD to be undertaken annually.
  • The development of a national CPD framework for early career teachers (post-QTS), similar to that proposed for NQTs. This would enable schools and individual teachers to know what knowledge and skills should be developed and demonstrated at different career stages, and enable them to select appropriate CPD opportunities against this.
  • Commit to ring-fencing funding for CPD in schools where it is most needed. This would be in conjunction with other initiatives, such as TLIF, but the money would be attached directly to the school, and could be directed so that teachers who move to these schools can be assured that they will receive more professional development than they would otherwise. We will be piloting approaches to this with the recently announced Teacher Development Premium.
  • The introduction of a personal CPD record, similar to those offered by a variety of other professions, and some other educational jurisdictions, including Wales.

22. How can government best support the development of a genuine culture of mentoring in schools?

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We want to stimulate the development of a mentoring culture in the teaching profession, whereby more experienced teachers taking responsibility for mentoring newer teachers is the norm, and regarded as a development opportunity for both the mentor and mentee. In other comparable professions, qualified and experienced professionals have a personal and vested interest in ensuring the continuity of the profession and the quality of those coming in. There is an expectation that experienced practitioners play a part, in some capacity, in the development of the next generation of practitioners.

Mentoring is not only valuable for those being mentored; it is a development opportunity in itself. It promotes reflection on practice and impact, builds leadership capabilities, and can be professionally and personally fulfilling. We think mentoring should be seen as part of teachers’ career progression, particularly for those specialising in teacher development.

However, the quality of mentoring provision in schools is very mixed. In addition to exploring how best to strengthen the mentoring offer for NQTs, we want to explore how we can support the building of a culture of mentoring leadership in schools, including working with senior leaders to resolve staffing and timetabling issues. In order for mentoring to become more fully embedded, the role of the mentor needs to have appropriate status and recognition in the school system.

We propose building a mentoring component into any new specialist qualifications that are developed, so that it starts to become part of the expectations of an experienced classroom teacher. If we develop specialist NPQs, as proposed above, we think that a specialist qualification in teacher development should be a priority. Mentoring and coaching, with a focus on building capacity for mentoring and coaching within the whole school, would be a significant element of this. We will work with those bodies that have expertise in developing high-quality mentor schemes to provide guidance on what strong, effective mentoring looks like and how schools can embed it. We will support the Chartered College of Teaching in their work to identify and accredit high-quality mentor programmes. For example, we could fund the development and/or provision of high-quality mentor training for schools with particularly high numbers of disadvantaged pupils, focusing on ‘train the trainer’ style CPD. We propose working with teaching schools to identify how they can help build capacity for mentor development among school leaders, particularly looking at the potential role of Specialist Leaders in Education in mentor development. In the medium- to longer-term, we will look at building mentoring leadership into the existing NPQ curriculum.

We recognise that we need to ensure that any new proposals are developed in conjunction with current efforts to reduce teacher workload. Indeed, effective mentoring relationships can help staff gain the confidence to ‘push back’ on unnecessary workload requirements, and manage their time most effectively. Mentoring does not need to be a formal set period of time each week; it can and should be designed to meet the needs of both parties.

We also recognise that effective mentoring takes time, but we do not want to prescribe approaches that are bureaucratic, excessively costly, and inflexible. In other comparable professions, mentoring is an expectation of the job, and often takes place in flexible and informal ways.