A Chartered Teacher Debate

Recently on twitter I noticed a comment by Fearghal Kelly . He wrote:

“As you can probably tell this has irked me. Ive been paying thousands for my MEd/CT I don’t want to be told what I can do with it”

I tried to trace the conversation that led up to him becoming so irritated and I discovered an exchange of views about the role of Chartered Teachers in Scottish education. it was apparent that there was a difference of opinion as to what this role should be. I’ve copied some of the comments from the twitter conversation here (I’ve left out the names of the contributors because some of them have chosen to protect their twitter updates).

  • Do we encourage our best teachers to become CTs, to do research to apply for promoted posts or do we not want to lose them?
  • is it not all about promoting cpd/learning however teachers want to do it? Then you end up with a great workforce.
  • Is it not recognition for the process & learning which you have undertaken – in the past. That doesn’t go away when you leave!!
  • So if they move into something else, what harm will that do? You now have a masters level educator out there you might not have
  • Why? If you’ve paid yourself through a Masters why on earth should that close doors? Couldn’t disagree more!
  • What are you going to do about CT’s who stay in the classroom but don’t do much to warrant the status/cash?
  • I think financial rewards via promotion are readily available. CT status, for me, is a recognition rather than a promotion!
  • Seems, again, just as with Senior Teacher, Chartered T is being used as a stepping stone away from the classroom.
  • I thought the entire point of CT was to reward those that stayed in the classroom, without forcing them into promoted posts?

But it was the following statement that caused much of the controversy:

  • I think any teacher leaving the classroom within 5 years of gaining CT status should have it rescinded!!!!

As a result of the ‘debate’,  Andrew Brown wrote this post.

I’ve copied just a small section of his post here:

” …….To me, the entire point of CT was to reward and recognise someone’s dedication to classroom teaching. I have no objection to people taking up secondments and spending some time out of the classroom – in fact, I think many educators would benefit from doing so. But if someone is out for more that 5 years, are they dedicated to classroom practice? Should they go back in at the same level? I think that rescind is too strong a word, but I would call into question someone’s commitment to classroom teaching if they haven’t been doing it for more than five years.”

 I’ve tried to view the debate objectively, but this has been difficult because every individual has their own personal reasons for deciding to embark on the Chartered Teacher journey – different incentives. The reason for this blog post is to help me clarify what motivated me to spend almost 6 years (and a lot of money!) to gain full Chartered Teacher status. So here’s my story ….

  • I’ve now been teaching for 15 years – and I distinctly remember graduating as a mature student swearing that I was finished with studying and writing essays/assignments. I’d spent 4 years at Moray House and had sacrificed a lot of time and effort getting that honours degree whilst bringing up three young children (thanks to JV’s contribution!)
  • 7 or 8 years on, I was aware that the initial ‘buzz’ I’d felt at the start of my career had begun to dwindle.  Things were beginning to feel a little repetitive. Around that time, the Chartered Teacher initiative was launched and (after a LOT of soul searching) I was ready to ‘go for it’
  • I learned loads during the first 8 modules (2 a year for 4 years) but it was a great deal of hard work …. Christmas and Easter holidays were always spent writing up essays explaining what I’d learned from the various action research projects I’d been involved in.
  • I decided to combine the last 4 modules (2 years worth) into one large dissertation. It took me a while to collect the evidence (and a lot of blood, sweat and tears) so that I could write up the case study, but I’m enormously proud of it 🙂
  • After graduating as a Chartered Teacher, I applied for a secondment post as an ICT Curriculum Support Officer. It’s a two year secondment, and I’ve spent my time sharing all the great things I learned from my C.T.  journey about how the use of free online tools can improve learning and teaching.

The twitter debate has led me to ask  questions about my right to retain C.T. status if I was  given the opportunity to continue to share what I’ve learned after my two year secondment was completed. I suppose the two questions in my mind are:

  • Would my time be better spent back in the classroom using what I’ve learned to improve (hopefully) the education of my own primary school class? 
  •  Would my time be better spent trying to spread what I’ve learned to colleagues who can then use this, in turn,  to (hopefully) improve the education of their pupils?

No matter what the answer is – I believe that I’ve earned the title of ‘Chartered Teacher’ and, as long as I’m continuing to try to make a difference to learning and teaching, why should it be rescinded?  Or maybe it’s the financial aspect that’s upsetting people???

Anyway, I’ve copied a bit from a post I wrote a while ago on here after attending the launch of The Association of Chartered Teachers in the Scottish Parliament building:



“…….I felt very proud to be part of the Association. The speeches were uplifting (as was the music!) and I’ll ‘bullet point’ just a few of the messages I heard on the day:

  • It has to be a group decision as to what our role now is – it’s important not to sit passively and be told the way forward
  • We are now in a unique position to take things forward…….”

17 thoughts on “A Chartered Teacher Debate

  1. It’s only a matter of time before councils move CTs to leadership/management duties. This will defeat the purpose of the McCrone/21st Century rationale behind the whole CT programme. I disagree with this move, but it will come.

    I’ve been teaching for 13 years and will do the CT stuff before I retire, to top up my pension.


    • Thanks for the reply, Nick.

      I’m not convinced that councils will be able to move C.T.’s to management duties. Leadership duties? – I’d welcome that, but that’s another debate 🙂

      Good luck with doing the ‘CT stuff’ to top up your pension before you retire – but why not do it now?

  2. Thanks for taking the time to do this, I still haven’t managed.

    I think you’ve done a better job of taking an objective viewpoint than I managed – it is difficult.

    Perhaps it would be interesting to look around at some of the other Chartered professions – this is presumably where the idea has come from? If they attain chartered status but then move into management or some sort of sideways move do they lose this status?

    I think it is enough to ask that you must be in the classroom to attain CTS – from there a large number will presumably stay in the classroom. Those that go on to leave will have benefitted their classes while they were in the class and more importantly will have an MEd in teaching and learning. I really don’t think it is a bad thing if DOs/DHTs/HTs/QIOs etc have attained CTS earlier in the career!!

  3. Hi Margaret,

    thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue. Understandably, because of the considerable time, effort and money that people have put into achieveing their CT status, it’s a very emotive issue, so your objectivity is much appreciated.

    I wanted to distance myself from the word ‘rescinded’, as I felt it was too strong a word, but I am still left with the question the comment provoked in me – if I’m not actually still teaching in the classroom, should I be still able to call myself a Chartered Teacher? I would argue ‘no’. That doesn’t take away from the work that people have done, or the dedication that they have shown in achieveing the status, but it seems to me that if they no longer teach in the classroom, they shouldn’t still be called Chartered Teachers. I think we are rolling a number of issues into one.

    I think it is brilliant for the collective development of our profession that many people choose to follow the CT programme, and I take my hat of to those that do. What they learn helps develop teaching as a whole, and can finanically recompense people for their ability without them having to pursue a promoted post in order to gain a higher salary. I would agree with Fearghal that if “DOs/DHTs/HTs/QIOs etc have attained CTS earlier in the career” it would be a good thing, but if they are now doing another role, are they still Chartered Teachers? If so, should they then achieve a further financial benefit in their new role in light of their CT status?

    Like Nick, I suspect if I were still teaching I too would be looking to achieve CT status, and the change to my pension would be worth it alone. Is there a danger that CT ends up another rung on the promotion ladder? I worry that it might, and end up taking away from the thing it seemed created for – rewarding excellence in the classroom.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, Andrew, but I’m still trying to understand what it is you’re saying here.

      Some of your points are confusing me. I’ll try to explain why.

      1. You say that ‘rescind’ is too strong a word to use ….. but you also think that C.T.’s should not be allowed to call themselves ‘Chartered Teachers’ if they leave the classroom and stay away for a set amount of time. Do you believe that C.T.’s should be encouraged to voluntarily give up the right to retain the status rather than have it rescinded?

      2. Do you think that if Chartered Teachers leave the classroom for a set amount of time, they should also forego the M’Ed title. I’m asking this because I thought my masters was somehow ‘joined at the hip’ to the C.T. status – should both titles automatically be withdrawn? …… genuinely trying to avoid the word ‘rescinded’ here 😉

      3. Do you think, like Nick, that (if you were still in the classroom) the main benefit of embarking upon the Chartered Teacher journey would be to top up your pension?

      4. You say that you worry that the Chartered Teacher qualification might end up as another ring on the promotion ladder. What do you think of the last two bullet points in my post? – not my own quotes, obviously 🙂

      ?It has to be a group decision as to what our role now is – it’s important not to sit passively and be told the way forward

      ?We are now in a unique position to take things forward…….”

      I hope you don’t misconstrue my questions here – I’m genuinely interested in what you (and others) think.

      • I think I just find the term ‘Chartered Teacher’ quite curious. I was a ‘Lead Care Assistant’ in care for the elderly in a previous line of work. I no longer work in that job, so wouldn’t consider retaining the title. Therefore, I wouldn’t think it suitable to still retain a title of Chartered Teacher when no longer classroom teaching. That was the only point I think I was trying to make. I do think it is unfortunate that the term has been rolled in with the M.Ed – it’s a masters qualification that has been granted by an academic institution. There are presumably some in education that have a Masters, but don’t carry the CT title? What of those that have achieved higher than Masters? Should PhD’s in education recieve an ‘ultra-chartered’ status? I’d always understood the introduction of the role of CT as a way to encoruage good teachers to stay in the classroom, and not pursue careers in management as the only way to earn more money in education? I’m obviously happy to proved wrong if I’m off the mark here.

        I would differentiate two things also about my thoughts on CT status – if I were still in the classroom, my reason to pursue CT status would be entirely financial. I would wish to stay in the classroom, and receive a higher income for my ability, therefore affecting my pension. This in my mind is a totally different subject from wishing to pursue a higher level of academic qualification however – this would be for interest, rather than financial gain? Please don’t confuse my questions about the role of CT with my interest in people studying. When I study, it’s for interest, but if I were to pursue CT status, like Nick, my motivation would be financial.

        • I think we both hold very opposing views as to the value of achieving Chartered Teacher status, Andrew. Although the financial reward is wecolmed, it certainly wasn’t the driving force in embarking on the 6 yr journey. I actually decided to sign up for all the reasons you mention about why people want to study …. for interest.

          And here was the opportunity to achieve a recognised academic qualification at the same time.

          Thankfully, I was lucky in that the school management team valued the contribution that I was able to make as a result of undertaking the various modules. I was actively encouraged to share the learning with others – wee bits of action research that had worked for me in my classroom.

          I hope I’m influencing others even more now in my role as ICT Curriculum Support Officer – all as a result of my C.T. studies 😉

          It’s heartening that the SNCT have issued guidance on the role of Chartered Teachers. I think the contribution that Chartered Teachers are able to make to learning because of their expertise in their own interest needs to be recognised.

  4. I think this discussion boils down to a differing understanding of what it means to have achieved CTS. As it is now integral to the Masters, I see it as recognition for having completed (and encouragement to undertake) a Masters programme in teaching & learning. Once you have reached that level, it can not be taken away.

    If you then choose to remain in the classroom, you will be financially rewarded for having become chartered and remaining in the classroom. If you choose to pursue another avenue within the profession (PT, DO, DHT…) then you loose the financial reward, but you can still call yourself a CT as you did reach that level and meet the standard when you were in the classroom.

    Others seem to view CTS as on ongoing status which needs reaffirmation in the classroom – I just don’t see it that way.

    I think it would be hugely beneficial to education as a whole for more and more ‘educationalists’ to have reached Masters level – especially in a programme which focuses on work in the classroom. Anything which promotes and encourages this is a good thing in my opinion.

    • Hi Fearghal,

      I totally agree with what you’re saying here. Thanks for bringing the debate to my attention on twitter. I’ve certainly managed to clarify my own thoughts as a result of writing this posts and reading the comments.

  5. In an ideal world every main grade top of the scale teacher would aspire and achieve CT status, but it’s the financial and time input with the dark cloud of having extra duties and not being able to move school, as it’s cheaper to employ maingrade staff, hanging over you.

    The main idea was to stop experienced teachers, who don’t want management posts/duties to leaving. That was the McCrone/Millennium talks ideal at the time.


  6. Do you know, I kind of missed this whole flare-up at the time, despite the fact that it seemed to be me that caused it in the first place!!! The original tweet “Do we encourage our best teachers to become CTs, to do research to apply for promoted posts or do we not want to lose them?” was from me sitting in a seminar at SLF, and wasn’t really about CT/non CT at all, it was about managers denying good teaching staff development opportunities because it made it that bit easier to keep them in that particular job/class/school.

    As for CT status being taken away from those not in the class – I think it might be a dangerous road to start down. I mean, if that’s OK, where do you stop? What about SFR? Should that get withdrawn if you’re not teaching for a certain amount of time? That could end up being another pressure for those post probationers finding it well-nigh impossible to secure themselves a position – bad enough the way it is, imagine adding that pressure to it. I’m sure Head Teachers don’t lose their qualified teacher status despite rarely teaching a class for years on end (most of them anyway). Anyway, once you’ve gained a qualification, I think it’s only fair you get to keep it – I doubt I could pass Higher Physics now, but does that really mean I shouldn’t list it on my CV? I worked hard enough to pass it after all.

    All food for thought anyway. I shall follow with interest (despite not being a CT…..!)

    • So you’re to blame for the stramash, Iain 🙂

      Thanks for starting the debate, though.

      I love the analogy to taking away ‘Highers’ and ‘SFR’ in your comment … a dangerous road to go down right enough!

  7. I don’t think you can ever take away CT status, they have paid for it and spent the unpaid time doing it !

    If CTs accept this then, phew where does it end ?

    Remember if you try to move school, it will be cheaper to employ another suitably qualified teacher on the maingrade.


    • I’m not sure what you mean about me moving school?

      Falkirk Council are reimbursed after they pay me my C.T. ‘top up’ salary, so it’s not coming out of their budget.

  8. Just found this http://www.ssta.org.uk/news.php?item.132.15

    The Code avoids the use of the word “duties” but attempts inadequately to hide this by the use of terms such as

    • “Brings a leadership role in leading learning and supporting colleagues”
    • “Could introduce focused projects”
    • “Might make a distinctive contribution”

    In particular, the Code lays down “Professional Actions” which include:

    • Supporting, advising and mentoring colleagues
    • Leading curricular change and assessment
    • Leading in-service on research work or educational development

    All of the above are duties for Principal Teachers. The whole reasoning behind the code should be obvious to anyone who has any knowledge of what is happening in Scottish secondary schools at this moment. The work suggested in the Code will remove CTs from the classroom for a substantial amount of the working week, in total contravention of the concept of Chartered Teacher status.”

    • Thanks for this comment, Nick. The blog post has raised a lot of issues – there’s so many conflicting viewpoints around. For example, in the original ‘CODE OF PRACTICE ON THE ROLE OF THE CHARTERED TEACHER’



      “The Chartered Teacher remains primarily a classroom teacher and at no point should the Chartered Teacher be regarded as part of the school’s management structure. Therefore, the contribution which could be made must be consistent with the duties of a teacher as set out in the SNCT Handbook, should maintain the primacy of the teacher’s focus in learning and teaching and must be both realistic and capable of being delivered within the 35 hour working week and a school’s Working Time Agreement. It must also reflect the Chartered Teacher’s own expertise which will take account of their teaching experience, interests, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and programmes of study undertaken.”

      This is seems to be saying something quite different from what’s mentioned in your comment?

  9. Oh dear I stumbled across this discussion between you guys as I was looking for more information about the likely future for those of us who have gone to considerable effort to attain CT. Before embarking upon CT I first had to convince my husband that there would be no massive negative impact on my family life…oh how I lied!!! You see previous to this, during my pregnancy and afterwards I had to undertake all 8 SEN modules in order to keep my job. This involved overnight stays away from home as the modules were in specialist areas and not offered locally. It took it’s toll on family life so it really was a massive decision to throw myself into yet more study and endless evidence gathering. However I did do it and I won’t lie about why. Aside from really enjoying teaching and being good at it, my main motivator was that I had no aspirations to climb a promotional ladder because I do value my life outside work! I do enough work outside school without adding managerial duties into the equation and anyway I’d be no good at managing as I need to be liked… major flaw! So there we have it, my main motivation was being finanacially rewarded for being very good at my job and going the extra mile. I do plan to stay in the classroom so I have no concerns about losing CT status for leaving. However I am very concerned about the standard for CT evolving into a managerial post. I will be no good as a manager of staff which is why I did CT in the first place!! I am very worried about all of this. Can anyone reassure me please?

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