Select Committee on Education and Skills Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


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 2000-01.


  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 and trust.

  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).


Trainee Teachers

  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 developing model.

  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 development.

  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 staff.

  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 supply teachers.

  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.

Carol Adams

Chief Executive, General Teaching Council for England

March 2002

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