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Teacher career paths

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by micgbanks, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. micgbanks

    micgbanks Occasional commenter

    Given that early 2019 will be the year the workgroup publish a report/recommendations regarding teachers career progression in Scottish schools. What would forum posters recommend as a new promoted structure for scottish schools being that the current system is not fit for purpose.
  2. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    For starters:

    Reinstate Chartered Teacher

    Bring back APTs within faculties

    Or better still get rid of faculties altogether. PT posts should only be for one subject, unless you are dual qualified e..g Hist/Mod Studies or French/Spanish. You shouldn't be allowed to manage a curriculum subject you know nowt about.
  3. sicilypat

    sicilypat New commenter

    The Faculty system has simply been a means to devolve PT duties to non-promoted classroom teachers ( where the FH is in a different curricular subject) and to save money. It has been a disaster for workload of non-promoted teachers.
  4. cobalt54

    cobalt54 New commenter

    Removing job titles like ‘School Manager’ or ‘Senior Leadership Team’ might be a good start. The term 'Head Teacher' was perfectly adequate since that is precisely what a good Head of school is: first amongst teachers. Once they start to see themselves as managers or CEOs that is when the bureaucratic rot sets in.

    In a similar vein, the word ‘Department’ was perfectly adequate to describe a group of teachers specialising in a subject area. A ‘team’ is something you sign up to join, not something you are assigned to. ‘Faculty’ is a pretentious title with links to tertiary education, although ironically it was introduced into schools as a cover for dilution of standards.

    In general, he (or she) who governs best, governs least. There were four main areas of responsibility when I was a student at schools with around 1200 on the roll fifty years ago:
    Overall running of school (Head Teacher);
    Discipline (Depute);
    Student Welfare (Lady Advisor);
    Security (Head Janitor).

    Below them lay the backbone of the school- the Heads of Department- responsible for academic achievement. I have yet to see any evidence that the expansion of managerial positions has benefited either students or teaching staff, in fact by taking some effective teachers out of the classroom it has probably made things worse. That is why I remain guarded about talk of ‘promotion structures’- if it is not happening in the classroom then you can bet education won’t be happening anywhere else in the school.
    Christopher Curtis and bigjimmy2 like this.
  5. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    1) Get back to departments and get rid of faculties.

    2) Get rid of Pastoral Care and bring in the equivalent number of social workers.

    3) Get rid of the "Faculty Head of Meaningless B_llsh_t" posts: they contribute nothing.

    4) Reintroduce something like CT. Teachers should be teaching, eh?

    5) The purpose of schools needs to be redefined. Schools seem to be a catch-all for all social problems, from inability to swim to dealing with family breakups.

    6) Fix discipline.

    Maybe a wee bit beyond what the OP requested but addressing these points would make the job "better".
  6. Marco82

    Marco82 Established commenter

    Excellent post, sums up perfectly where things went wrong. Managerialism is the curse of the education system, all that empty jargon for a start, "giving solidity to pure wind" as Orwell put it. And anyway, school leaders have no managerial training anyway - or maybe a couple of training days - and,like the rest of us, are qualified only to teach their subjects. Still, your advice is too sensible to be taken seriously.
  7. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter


    Hear, hear! I have been saying on this site for years that teachers themselves should stop using terms like “senior leadership team”, “senior management team” and “line manager”, and doing so as someone who would have fitted under those labels for most of his time in teaching but who would have regarded it as pretentious to use any of them.

    In 1992 we had a very bad government elected in Victoria. Its most enduring achievement was to change the language in which people thought. Those who control the language control the ways in which people can think.

    We use different language here; e.g., principal for head teacher. I prepared a paper on school reform, “Refocusing School Education in Victoria”, for the opposition Labor party in 2014. I quote some extracts from it on teacher career structure:

    4. Aligning the teacher career structure with student learning

    For more than 30 years parents, students and teachers have been told that we need a career structure that rewards the best teachers for remaining as full-time teachers in the classroom. On several occasions, the claim has been made that such a career structure has been delivered. Every such claim has been a lie. Every career structure (from the introduction of advanced skills level 2 and 3 teachers to the various versions of leading teachers) that pretended to give substantial rewards to classroom teachers in fact required them to take on leadership duties outside the classroom. The one reform that did reward classroom teachers (advanced skills teacher level 1) provide a trivial payment of about $10 a week after tax.

    It is time to ensure that those rewards do exist and that students throughout the state have access to the best classroom teachers. This is not to downgrade the leadership positions that schools have, which are equally essential to the educational effectiveness of the system.

    It is also essential to focus leadership positions in schools on student learning, which means taking account of subject expertise.

    Rewarding the best teachers to stay in the classroom and ensuring that key priorities have leadership positions are principles that need also to be applied in private schools in receipt of government funding, though those schools ought to retain some flexibility in the process and nature of those roles.

    There are two phases for this change in the government system. The first is to introduce the leading teacher (classroom) category as an addition to the staffing schedule of schools. The second is to establish a defined promotion schedule for each school in the state that integrates these leadership positions with those for leading teachers (classroom). The first phase establishes and appoints the new category. The second ensures that the new positions and the traditional leadership positions form a whole for each school.

    Phase One

    The proposal is to add 2,000 leading teachers (classroom) to the current number of teachers in our schools, with approximately 1,000 for the top two-thirds of schools – about 500 in secondary schools and about 500 in primary schools – and approximately 1,000 for the most disadvantaged schools, specifically the bottom third by socio-economic disadvantage – also about 500 in secondary schools and about 500 in primary schools. In addition, to cater for the larger primary enrolment, the proposal is to appoint approximately 500 additional leading teachers (classroom) to primary schools from within the existing teacher numbers – about 250 for the top two-thirds of schools and 250 for the bottom one third.

    Disadvantaged schools would receive one leading teacher (classroom) for every 150 students. Other schools would receive one leading teacher (classroom) for every 300 students. Part-time positions wouldbe provided at a minimum fraction of 0.8, meaning that every school with more than 240 students would have at least one and every disadvantaged school with more than 120 students would have one. If disadvantaged schools are spread evenly across the enrolment bands, that would cover more than 90 per cent of secondary schools and more than half our primary schools. It is not possible to provide LTCs to all primary schools given that so many of them are very small, but these schools would have leading teachers or principals with higher teaching skill with significant classroom commitments.

    Leading teachers appointed as outstanding classroom teachers in secondary schools would be required to teach a minimum of 20 periods; in primary schools, 20 hours. Leading teachers (classroom) would not be eligible for time allowance positions as the whole intent of the classification is to keep the best teachers in the classroom. If such teachers want time allowance positions they have the option of applying for the other stream of leading positions. The small reduction from the maximum teaching load is to allow time for mentoring of student teachers and beginning teachers. …

    Phase Two

    Schools, particularly secondary schools, have gradually lost their focus on curriculum, and thus leadership positions in subject areas have been downgraded, while those to do with student discipline and management have been upgraded. It is time to reverse this trend and to focus schools on their educational purposes. One way of doing this is to require schools to appoint leading teachers to lead subject areas. However, it is important that education be seen as much more than the traditional academic disciplines, fundamental though they are. It is also important that teachers from all subject areas have a reasonable chance of becoming principals and vice principals to ensure that those positions can be filled on merit and not be restricted to teachers of traditional disciplines. Thus, schools ought to be required to appoint leading teachers across all curriculum areas, not just in the traditional academic ones. It is not possible for every school to have leading teachers in charge of every subject, so a combination of central direction and local flexibility is required to meet the needs of the system as a whole.

    This paper would require schools to have the following management structure:

    1. principal

    2. curriculum coordinator (including learning technologies, professional development and the curiculum aspects of equal opportunity) (vice principal if there is one, otherwise LT if there is one)

    3. discipline and welfare coordinator (including the relevant aspects of equal opportunity) (vice principal if there is one, otherwise LT if there is one,)

    4. operations coordinator (timetable, daily organisation, calendars, buildings and grounds, etc) (vice principal if there is one, otherwise LT if there is one)

    (In the case of a school with funding for one vice principal, the curriculum coordinator would be the vice principal. In the case of a school with funding for two vice principals, the curriculum coordinator and discipline and welfare coordinator would both be vice principals. In the case of a school with funding for three vice principals, the curriculum, discipline and welfare and operations coordinators would each be vice principals.)

    Schools that have fewer than three vice principals would be able to combine the above roles into two positions if they wished.

    In the case of a primary school, the first leading teacher appointed would be the literacy convenor, the second leading teacher appointed would be the numeracy convenor, the third leading teacher appointed would be the early years convenor, the fourth leading teacher appointed would be the convenor of a creative area (art, music, projects, gardening, community engagement, etc), and the fifth leading teacher appointed would be a leading teacher (classroom). These positions could be part-time, as long as they were at least 0.6.

    Leading teachers in small schools could combine the roles for vice principals with the subject-based roles that would be taken by vice principals in larger schools.

    In the case of a secondary school, the first leading teacher appointed would be the English convenor, the second leading teacher appointed would be the maths convenor, the third leading teacher appointed would be the history or geography or languages convenor, the fourth leading teacher appointed would be the science or technology convenor, the fifth leading teacher appointed would be the convenor of a creative area (art, music, projects, gardening, community engagement, etc), and the sixth leading teacher appointed would be a leading teacher (classroom). These positions could be part-time, as long as they were at least 0.6.

    All schools would be required to fill their remaining allocation of leading teacher (positions) with leading teachers (classroom) until they had one leading teacher (classroom) for every 300 students. Disadvantaged schools would continue to have leading teachers (classroom) centrally allocated on the basis of one for every 150 students.

    I know different jurisdictions have different cultures and histories. I am just throwing this into the mix for consideration.

    You may ask: did anything happen? It did. The new government created 3,000 positions for learning specialists with the same pay as leading teachers, which are in effect the leading teacher (classroom) positions I recommended.
  8. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Sorry pal, this is Jockland

    The last time we borrowed ideas from other countries we got CFE. It's utter pish. That's Scottish colloquialism for "not working very well".

    You can go home after work and sit on the beach and have a BBQ. We go home in the cold and dark and have a fish supper.

    I think we need to fix our own distinct problems and not look for theories from abroad
  9. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis Occasional commenter


    It’s 42 degrees and a day of total fire ban, so there won’t be any real BBQs today, but there will be plenty of people at the beach.

    It is unwise to copy other countries (some of us are still trying to get rid of Teach for Australia, copied from the US’s Teach for America and the UK’s Teach First), but you can learn from their experiences.
  10. Dominieredivivus

    Dominieredivivus New commenter

    What was wrong with the 21st C agreement? Only 1 thing: ambiguity over the role of subject PT which allowed the ideologically driven or cash strapped to drive towards faculties. Otherwise, the concept of the masters level teaching post attracting a higher salary was sound enough. Lack of cash and HTs and local politicians obsessed with control killed it off.

    That said, the fundamental problem is that the general public i.e. taxpayers have always paid lip service to the importance of education but when it comes to paying for it, will always find an excuse. Very few have any experience of a less than efficient police officer or medic but everyone has seen a teacher struggling with a demanding class or simply having a bad day.

    Teachers themselves are complicit in this when they promote the idea that teaching is some form of higher vocation in the manner of Miss Jean Brodie or Mr. Chips. It's not. It's a job, some might say, with little evidence these days, a profession. Its practitioners are human and flawed and a tiny minority , at all levels, are less than competent. However, the output Scotland's teachers produce bears comparison with any comparable first world nation and under conditions currently much less favourable than many. Certainly at salary levels that other comparable nations' teachers would not get out of bed for.

    Tell it like it is and keep on telling like it is!
    beharder, bigjimmy2 and davieee like this.
  11. micgbanks

    micgbanks Occasional commenter

    The working group were looking at 5 different systems from Australia, Canada. Singapore, Estonia and another I can't remember so it is perfectly possible the we could import p@sh from other countries!

    The PT/APT model was better backed up by CT and the old Senior teacher model. It wasn't perfect and still suffered from the patronage of the HT. Jobs for sooks and sneecks!

    I wouldn't be confident of HT's being involved in any appointments in their own schools. Teachers for decades have been exploited by unscrupulous managent. There no easy answer but the status quo is not a viable option. The FH system is a disgrace and benefits nobody in Scottish schools.
  12. OwerAuld

    OwerAuld Occasional commenter

    One of the problems with pulling the rug out from under folk that had committed to the CT route is that it has established the precedent of one sided commitment. Before long enthusiastic teachers may again be asked to commit to the next big thing, for a while it will suit COSLA, SG, GTC, EIS, Universities/Other Providers - For what happens next, see Chartered teacher Scheme.

    The CT route was promoted as a means to career progression while staying in the classroom, it was not however promoted with an expectation that every non-promoted teacher would go this way. This may not be the case next time round, there is the distinct possibility of any non promoted teachers unable to give up a large part of what small bit of life they have left being marginalised (with a special lower pay) perhaps a little like non-graduate teachers in the past.
  13. beharder

    beharder Occasional commenter

    As a (very contented) non promoted teacher I dont think the increase in salary is worth the time or hassle
    On average a FH will work at least an extra 10hrs a week. For about £180 extra a week @£18ph . Effectively overtime paid at 50% of your salary.+ incompetent SLT on your back all the time

    What an absolute rip off.
  14. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    I disagree that FHs work longer hours than nonpromoted staff. FHs have different tasks, sure, but they don't work any harder or any longer.
    MilkyBar Kid likes this.
  15. sbf

    sbf New commenter

    Would agree with that, I doubt there is much difference in working hrs. And indeed they are still on a 35hr contract like main grade teachers.
  16. beharder

    beharder Occasional commenter

    Obviously im speaking from personal experience but many FH are in the building by 7.30 and still at their desks at 5. AGood 10hrs more than i work.

    It is pefectly possible to get it all done in 35hrs.. Stick to Swinneys statement if it dosn't improve the learners journey dont do it.
  17. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    What on earth does this mean - improving the learners' journey? More eduspeak nonsense to confuse everyone. I know a few 'learners' (I'm being generous here of course) whose journey would be improved by not being there, and even more would be skipping merrily along their learning path if the aforementioned were out of class but yet we are forced to babysit a minority who should not be anywhere near a mainstream classroom. Improving the learners' journey? I think JS should start with improving the teachers' journey.
    Effinbankers, catmother and bigjimmy2 like this.
  18. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    I started the Assignment with my S5 N5s today. Explaining what they needed to do over the next fortnight, including exemplars and the marking scheme, before they write up their report under exam conditions.

    Were they listening? Nope. Laughing over me, more like. Threw one out for repeatedly shouting out across the room - I'll get into trouble for that, even though he's over 16, ie an adult.

    You can bet your bottom they'll be saying they don't know what to do starting tomorrow, or that I'm "not helping" them. I've bet myself one in particular will suggest his dad comes up to the school.

    Teaching really is a f_ckin' joke these day's, n'est pas?
  19. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    I personally know these pupils too

    Give them a bus pass and get them to fk. That's a nice journey
  20. Marisha

    Marisha Established commenter

    I have heard a particular headteacher in a Scottish school using the term 'lead teacher' to describe particular staff members. Unfortunately, this translates as 'poor sod whom I hope to con into doing all the PT duties whilst still getting the pay of a classroom teacher'.
    micgbanks likes this.

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