What are the new standards intended to do?
The Review says they “set out a clear baseline of expectations for the practice of all teachers, from the point of qualification onwards. As such, they will be used by ITT providers to assess when a trainee can be recommended for QTS. The same standards will also be used, albeit in a different context, to assess the extent to which Newly-Qualified Teachers (NQTs) have consolidated their training and confirmed their competence at the end of the induction period.”
Is there anything the new standards are not expected to do?
The report says it is not the task of standards to prescribe in detail what good or outstanding teaching should look like, but rather provide a clear framework within which heads, teachers and ITT providers can exercise their professional judgment.
What does the review say about the standards it has recommended?”
“We are confident that they bring clarity and rigour to setting out the basic elements of teaching that all teachers need to demonstrate consistently in order to have the best possible impact on the children they teach. The standards also establish a clear framework within which teachers can identify the areas of their practice that they want to improve even further. Ultimately, we have aimed not to produce an exhaustive and prescriptive list of skills, knowledge and understanding, but a clear and powerful expression of the key elements of great teaching, which I am confident that all schools will recognise and will want to adopt as a part of their commitment to giving pupils the best quality education.”
Do the standards apply to teachers in academies and free schools?
It depends on the specific establishment arrangements of these schools. The standards must be used in maintained schools and non-maintained special schools, and can be used in independent schools if they wish. The Report recommends that all schools should use them.
How do the new standards work?
The document is in three sections:
- A one-paragraph preamble, which sets out what might be described as a mission statement for a teacher’s practice and attitudes.
Part 1, which contains the eight standards for teaching, with supporting bullet points. Assessors of teachers and trainees are intended to focus on the overarching substantive statements, “which may involve more than the sum of the bullet points.” The bullets are to be used in tracking progress against standards during an assessment cycle, to help decide where additional development may be required or where the teacher is making excellent progress.
Part 2 contains the standards for behaviour and conduct, which, says the report, are “non-negotiable expectations in terms of a teacher’s behaviour and conduct.,” and are not expected to be assessed in the same way as Part 1’s Standards for Teaching.
Why don’t the new standards specify how teachers’ performance should improve as they become more experienced?
“The Review concluded that it is not helpful for the standards to attempt to specify gradual increments in the expectations for how a teacher should be performing year on year. By defining clearly the framework within which all teachers operate, the standards should provide the parameters within which teachers can identify and address their professional development needs, as appropriate to the role and setting in which they are working.”
What evidence did the review team consider?
They looked at a range of evidence including UK and international research, opinions from users of the standards, and educational experts.
What were the review team asked to do?
The Secretary of State for Education asked for a set of standards which were clear and easy to understand and designed to inspire confidence in the profession. They had to provide a tool to assess teachers’ performance and steer professional development, and focus primarily on the key elements of teaching, including approaches to early reading and maths, behaviour, and supporting children with additional needs. The standards also had to cover ethics and behaviour, including having tolerance for the rights and views of others.
What did the group decide was the purpose of the standards?
They thought the standards should provide nationally consistent benchmarks for the quality of teachers' practice and conduct to improve pupil achievement; a suitable standard of competence and conduct for entry to the profession; a basis for helping teachers to develop professionally, and a clear basis for schools to tackle underperformance and misconduct through performance management.
Why did they replace the existing core and QTS standards with one set?
The report says the duplication between the two existing sets
of standards is such that the differences between them are not
meaningful in practice. The review group says it was “mindful” that replacing two sets of standards used to assess trainees and teachers at different career stages could present a “practical challenge” to end users. “However, the Review has taken the view that a single set of standards defining the key elements of teaching should be applied, as appropriate, to different contexts and career points.” The review says the key point is that standards are interpreted in a way that is consistent with and commensurate with the context in which the trainee or teacher is operating.
“The Review also believes that introducing a single set of “floor” standards is consistent with the aim of giving greater autonomy to schools, and placing trust in the professional judgement of those who are using the standards in practice.
“So, for instance, a head teacher using the standards to appraise the performance of teachers in a small rural primary school, and to plan appropriate professional development opportunities for those teachers, will need to take account of a different range of factors from the head teacher of a large inner-city secondary school who is making the same judgements. It is right that, in each case, the head teacher should have the freedom to apply the standards in a way that is consistent with the needs and circumstances of his or her school. Both assessments, however, will be made in the context of a nationally recognised framework of standards which define the baseline expectations for every teacher’s performance.”
Won’t it be difficult for established teachers to adapt to meet the new standards?
The review team says it has been careful to draft the standards in such a way as to not place “unreasonable new expectations or burdens” on those teachers who might have been qualified for a significant period of time. “As far as possible, the Review has attempted to make the standards reflect the “timeless” values of teaching.”
Do the standards align with Ofsted evaluations of teaching?
The team has invited Ofsted to consider how its grade descriptors for the evaluation of teaching might be framed to make clear connections with the teacher standards, helping users to “read across” to level descriptors in the inspection framework.