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Thursday, 1 March, 2001, 15:21 GMT
Sabbaticals for teachers
teacher in classroom
It is estimated the scheme will benefit up to 70,000 teachers
Sabbaticals for those working in "challenging schools" and professional bursaries are just some of the initiatives the government hopes will develop teachers in their careers.

The 92m scheme for teachers in England aims to encourage continuous professional development (CPD) within the teaching profession.


If we want a first class education for our children and young people, we need to give teachers every opportunity to grow and develop as professionals

Estelle Morris
Early professional development will be offered to teachers two or three years into the job and research scholarships - worth up to 3,000 each - will be available for classroom-based research.

But the General Teaching Council for England (GTC), set up to promote and regulate the profession, said CPD must be properly funded and followed through if the benefits were to be seen.

The School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, estimated that the scheme would benefit from 70,000 teachers.

School improvement

"I want to see more schools putting the professional development of all their staff, teachers and support staff at the heart of their approach to school improvement," Ms Morris said.

"If we want a first class education for our children and young people, we need to give teachers every opportunity to grow and develop as professionals," the minister said.


Professional development should be an entitlement for all teachers - it can't just be bolted on

John Bangs, NUT
The funding would be available over the next three years, she added.

Chairman of the GTC, Lord Puttnam, said CPD was crucial as a means of raising the collective confidence of the teaching profession.

"If we are serious about attracting hugely increased numbers of people to the profession, if we are serious about raising morale and standards within it, if we are serious about raising the status of teachers in the eyes of society - if we are really serious about all of this, then we have no alternative but to be very serious about professional development."

'Blissful ignorance'

To think otherwise, Lord Puttnam said, was to be living in blissful ignorance.

John Bangs from the National Union for Teachers (NUT) welcomed the scheme.

"Professional development should be an entitlement for all teachers - it can't just be bolted on.

"It has got to be part and parcel of every school's activities and importantly of what teachers do in the classroom. CPD is something that is enormously empowering for teachers," Mr Bangs said.

'Finally recognised'

Meryl Thompson, head of policy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL)said: "It is important that the government has finally recognised that time has to be allocated within the school day for professional development."

"Some of the most essential development is learning from and with other teachers," Ms Thompson said.

"This will be especially important to primary school teachers where the lack of non-contact time has been a major disadvantage," she added.

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