For a few days now, I have been attempting to nail my colours to the mast in response to the dissolution of the Chartered Teacher Scheme and my recent communication from the SNCT stating that I would be unable to complete my ‘journey’, despite 4 years of personal, financial and professional commitment.
So, I’ve decided to blog each point I think deserves some reflection. It is presented as an ‘open letter’, and I am sure there are many other similarly betrayed professionals with whom I share many observations.
As of last week, I had to inform my course provider, University of the West of Scotland (UWS), that I would not be completing my Masters Dissertation phase, but would be exiting the programme and leaving with a Postgraduate Diploma (I have three such pieces of parchment already).
My name is Hugh O’Donnell, and I am a Secondary English Teacher who undertook the Chartered Teacher Pathway Programme with the University of West of Scotland in September, 2009. Additionally, I was simultaneously completing the Postgraduate Diploma in E-learning at EdinburghUniversity, which further evinces my commitment to continuous professional development.
On 4th September 2012, and as a result of the McCormack Review’s proposition to dissolve the Chartered Teacher Scheme, my application to be allowed to progress through the final stages (CT Pay Scale Points 5 and 6) was refused. This is in despite of the fact that I was currently on Point 4 of the Chartered Teacher Pay Scale, and embarking on the final stage of the CT Pathway Programme at UWS between September 2012 and June 2013. I would – and hoped to be – fully accredited by June 2013, having attained the associated MEd in Advanced Professional Studies.
But this proximity to being fully accredited, to be at the Masters-level Dissertation stage, according to the recent SNCT decision on circular 12/35, does not equate to fulfilling its ‘exceptional circumstances’, despite being one year from what would have amounted to five years of personal and financial commitment, and a course of study that would culminate in pursuing a piece of academic research – one which I envisage would have provided an opportunity for further longitudinal study into enhancing pupils’ literacy experiences across the curriculum.
When enrolling and undertaking what has proven to be both a huge financial undertaking, as well as one whereby many personal sacrifices have been made, it was one devoid of any cynicism – motivated to take advantage of the CT Pay Scale; my decision to undertake this professional development was:
- To aspire to upholding the tenets of the Standard for Chartered Teacher and provide an enhanced educational experience for every pupil;
- To qualify for an MEd, having undertake modular study and a final Masters-level dissertation that would contribute to the growing body of current academic research;
- To become and embody the pedagogy of ‘teacher-researcher’, nurturing the established academic and collegiate links that will continue to inform daily praxis;
- To forego Principal Teacher position or other promoted post routes (Guidance, for example), choosing to pursue a route that rewarded excellence in the classroom, and one which would help to imbue the importance of education in pupils and colleagues.
Since the ‘refusal’ notification, there has been no ‘appeals procedure’, and, additionally, I have less conviction as to the sincerity afforded the time-frame for the submission of ‘exceptional circumstances’, when one considers that the registration deadline for the University of West of Scotland’s MEd Dissertation Project was 10th September 2012 – less than one week after the SNCT’s notification.
Has there been proper consideration and consultation of all stakeholders, especially with the Scheme’s academic providers?
I have not been judged on who I have become, or what I do in and away from the classroom in the past 4 years . Simply, I have been judged on how much I cost.
Next Post – ‘Mobility’.