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Last Updated: Friday, 30 September 2005, 04:42 GMT 05:42 UK
Search for 'excellent teachers'
teacher in class
Teachers are invited to redefine their expected standards
People are being invited to say what constitutes an Excellent Teacher.

The title is being introduced as a higher pay grade for classroom teachers in England's schools.

Ministers have asked the TDA teacher training organisation to define the standards that such top-level teachers should have to meet.

It is now consulting everyone, and at the same time is asking what people think of the other existing standards for different categories of teacher.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (formerly the TTA) wants England's 430,000 teachers to have their say via an online survey.

People taking part in this are asked to say what their current roles are, but it can be completed anonymously.


The agency said the review was also intended to bring coherence to the four sets of existing standards: Qualified Teacher Status, Induction, Senior Teacher (threshold) and Advanced Skills Teacher.

A spokeswoman said Advanced Skills Teachers were different from Excellent Teachers, in that they spent a fifth of their time helping other teachers in their own schools or other schools to improve their skills.

The idea of Excellent Teacher status was that people who excelled as teachers should be rewarded for that and not feel they had to move into a school leadership role, she said.

The director of the teachers' programme at the TDA, Mary Doherty, said research showed "a large proportion of teachers want to continue their career through work in the classroom".

Previous rewards

Five years ago the government introduced a "threshold" which good classroom teachers could apply to cross, subject to satisfactory performance, onto a higher pay scale.

It was intended to reward good teachers for staying in the classroom rather than seeking management posts to get higher pay.

In July 1999 the then School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, said: "For years, teachers have complained that they have to be promoted out of the classroom for better pay.

"Now good, effective classroom teachers will be rewarded for being good, effective classroom teachers."

Once over the threshold, there were to have been another four pay increments through which teachers were told they could continue to progress.

But the government then found itself accused by the education unions of failing adequately to fund this new pay ladder, which was capped at the third rung.

Instead it came up with the idea of Excellent Teachers.

Following the consultation the TDA will put recommendations to the government next year.

The National Union of Teachers is reserving comment for the time being, but suspects the awarding of higher grades has more to do with school budgets than staff skills.

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