Memorandum from the General Teaching Council
for England (GTCE) (SQ09)
The GTCE would like to make the following comments
on the Annual Report of HMCI, Standards and Quality in Education
1. The Council agrees with HMCI (p18, commentary)
that "the development of robust, objective self-evaluation
is . . . central to the progress and improvement of schools"
and endorses the welcome given to the increase "in the proportion
of schools where monitoring and evaluation of teaching and performance
are now good or better". The Council, as outlined in its
memorandum to First Report of the Committee of Session 2001-02
(OFS 13), believes that a school's ability to self-evaluate and
to develop improvement programmes based on the evidence of its
own findings should play a greater role in the inspection framework.
There is now a consensus of commitment to accountability and teachers
consider it essential that they are regarded as partners in inspection,
with an agreed goal of continuous school improvement. Such an
approach would avoid undermining teacher morale, professionalism
2. In primary schools, HMCI (paragraph 13)
reports improvements in the quality of leadership and management,
in action planning and in monitoring and evaluation of teaching
quality. Similar improvements are reported in secondary schools
in leadership and management and in the overall monitoring and
evaluation of school performance (paragraphs 83-85).
3. The Council is pleased that HMCI has
reported that trainees' subject knowledge, planning, teaching
and classroom management are good overall and that there has been
an improvement over previous years. (paragraph 351)
4. The Council notes also that HMCI reports
that behavioural problems were affecting secondary teacher trainees'
lessons to an extent not previously seen and that this hinders
their scope to develop their subject teaching skills (paragraph
353). The greater focus within the newly revised Qualified Teacher
Status (QTS) standards on supporting inclusion was strongly supported
by the Council. It is to be hoped that the new standards will
better position both higher education institutions (HEIs) and
schools to support the training of teachers in this area.
5. The Council welcomes the diverse routes
into teaching which are increasingly available. However, the Council
believes that all the routes into teaching should meet the same
quality standards, so that trainees who come into teaching from
whatever route are well-equipped for the demands of teaching.
The weaknesses expressed by HMCI (paragraphs 356-7) about some
GTP provision need to be addressed.
Newly qualified teachers (NQTs)
6. The Council welcomes the recommendation
from HMCI that the features of good induction arrangements for
NQTs outlined in the report (paragraph 359) should be the entitlement
for all NQTs. Since appeals by newly qualified teachers who have
failed induction are now made to the GTC, the Council intends
to monitor and assess the evidence which emerges from the Induction
Appeal Hearings on the quality of induction arrangements and will
be well placed to offer an additional evidence base in this area.
7. Greater support to NQTs and those within
the early years of their careers to allow them to consolidate
the development of their teaching skills could play an important
part in reducing wastage rates among this group, which continue
to be high. The report cites one in five NQTs leaving the profession
within the first three years of teaching (paragraph 385). The
Council has advised government to pilot a programme of second
and third year Early Professional Development (EPD), is jointly
steering the pilot work with DfES and has called for an early
national roll-out to all second and third year teachers of the
8. A key factor in ensuring proper provision
is in place to meet the requirements of trainees, of those on
the Graduate Teacher Programme, of NQTs and of temporary and supply
teachers is that staff within school who have responsibility for
each of these groups have sufficient time and management support
and receive appropriate professional development to enable them
to carry out their responsibilities. The Council is concerned
about the lack of a consolidated programme of professional support,
training and recognition for the critical role of mentoring which
is increasingly expected of teachers; and has determined to undertake
work in this area.
9. The Council welcomes the attention given
in HMCI's report to the quality and effectiveness of continuing
professional development (CPD) and its impact on teachers' professional
development and pupil progress and on the re-focusing of Section
10 inspections on the planning, management and evaluation of CPD.
It would be of value if subsequent annual reports identified more
fully the effects of performance management on teachers' access
to and experience of CPD.
10. The GTC's draft Professional Learning
Framework, currently being consulted on, sets out a model of professional
development and outlines the range of professional development
experiences and outcomes to which teachers could be entitled.
The Council would welcome discussion with OFSTED about how the
final version of the Professional Learning Framework might be
used to inform inspection of CPD.
11. Within the professional learning framework,
the Council places school-based collaboration and sharing of expertise
among teachers at the heart of CPD and would endorse the importance
of this approach outlined by HMCI (paragraph 364). Time needs
to be provided to ensure opportunities for in-school professional
12. Currently, the deployment of resource
to teachers' professional development varies considerably from
school to school. The Council would welcome a greater focus on
the effect on teaching quality, teacher morale and teacher retention
of different approaches to resourcing CPD.
13. The Council believes that Ofsted Section
10 and HMI inspections should identify the extent to which teachers
gain access to any entitlement to CPD which may emerge in the
reconfiguration of professional time.
14. The Council's advice to government has
encouraged the increase in the numbers of other adults who support
teaching and learning in schools. The Council has also emphasised
that in order for other trained adults in the classroom to impact
on the quality of education, leadership teams and teaching staff
should have sufficient professional time, properly resourced,
to be able to plan, discuss and supervise the work of support
15. The Council supports comments in HMCI's
report that greater attention needs to be given to the management
of teaching assistants (paragraph 32). It is vital that the impact
of the work of support staff on the quality of teaching and learning
is closely monitored and that this evaluation is contributed to
the debate on the future re-modelling of the teaching profession,
outlined by the Secretary of State in her speech to the Social
Market Foundation in November 2001.
16. The Council continues to be greatly
concerned about the level and impact of teacher shortages, in
particular on the deterioration in secondary schools in the match
of teachers and support staff to the curriculum (paragraph 95)
and in the higher levels of poorer teaching among temporary or
supply teachers. The Council has advised government that all the
provision and opportunities which arise from the Department for
Education and Skills' CPD strategy should be made available to
17. As well as commenting on LEAs' teacher
recruitment strategies (paragraph 413), it would be valuable if
HMCI were to comment on individual schools' and LEAs' strategies
aimed at improving retention levels.
18. Government has recognised, through the
provision of National Opportunities Fund ICT training, that resource
for ICT infrastructure (hardware, software and connectivity) must
be complemented by teachers' professional development in the use
of ICT. The findings of HMCI's annual report support the Council's
view that further development opportunities to integrate ICT into
professional practice must be made available as a priority.
Chief Executive, General Teaching Council for England