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Last Updated: Friday, 5 October 2007, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
'Active' teacher register floated
Pupils with lap tops
The way children are taught and learn is continually changing
Teachers could be obliged to keep updating their skills to stay on the register of those allowed to work in schools, under possible new plans.

A registration process through which teachers would have to demonstrate their professional development is being considered by their regulatory body.

Head of the General Teaching Council for England, Keith Bartley, said it could deepen trust in the profession.

But he admits that greater training opportunities may be needed.

Can we demonstrate to all the benefits of a commitment to continual professional improvement?
Keith Bartley
GTC chief executive
Teachers are obliged to register with the teaching council. Normally their registration would be revoked only for wrongdoing.

In an article for the Times Educational Supplement, Mr Bartley said this basic registration ensured parents and the wider public knew children were being taught by "qualified teachers of good standing".

He asked: "Could a more active expression of professional registration not only deepen the public trust in the profession but also demonstrate to decision makers that teachers are very well placed to shape teaching and learning in schools?"

Other professions had to provide regular evidence that they had completed "mandatory continuing professional development" to stay registered, he said.

This was not what he envisaged for teachers. But, at the least, teachers might have to show they had a commitment to continuing work-based learning, he added.

Professional development

Most qualified teachers in state schools would already meet this most basic criterion for "active registration", he said.

But supply teachers and those returning to work after a break needed to be given more opportunities to develop professionally.

"Can we demonstrate to all the benefits of a commitment to continual professional improvement that is recognised and accredited by teachers themselves?"

The proposal comes after the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls, urged schools and teachers to raise their game.

This year's national test results showed that although the proportion of children reaching the required standards in the "three Rs" is increasing, in most areas, they are doing so at a slower rate than in recent years.

Ministers also want to see more personalised learning and targeted teaching to individual pupils' needs.

The GTC says it wants to hear teachers' views on the proposals and has invited them to email Mr Bartley on the issue at chiefexec@gtce.org.uk.

General Secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, Chris Keates, said teachers said the existing performance management framework ensured that full-time, supply and returning teachers kept their skills up to date.

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