Review of teacher education in Scotland - call for evidence
In responding to the call for evidence as part of the review process, the EIS is mindful that we represent both teachers in schools as well as substantial numbers of lecturers in Higher Education, especially within schools and faculties of higher education within universities in Scotland.
The EIS is pleased to present our views on teacher education to the review team. We are aware that there have been a number of informal discussions in relation to the review, some of which have involved EIS personnel. We would seek, as part of the review process, an early, more formal meeting between members of the review team and representatives of the EIS at a senior level.
The EIS believes that the quality education of teachers lies at the heart of the Scottish educational system. One of the great strengths of the system in Scotland is that teachers in Scotland are educated to a very high standard, are registered with the GTCS and have opportunities for development throughout their careers.
The EIS strongly supported the view expressed in the McCrone report (2000) on the inadequacy and poor quality at that time of professional development available to teachers. Indeed, these concerns formed part of the EIS submission to the McCrone review.
The EIS welcomed the strong commitment to CPD contained within the TP21 agreement including a clear statement of teacher entitlement to CPD. The EIS has strongly supported most of the subsequent developments as regards improved CPD provision for teachers and teacher access to CPD.
These include the setting up of Chartered Teacher Courses and developments in relation to CPD for Standards for Headship. The setting up of a government CPD team also sends a strong signal of support for CPD from government ministers.
It is one of the greatest concerns currently of the EIS that the positive developments in relation to CPD ove
r the past decade are being undermined currently by government both national and local in part through the removal of ring-fenced funding as part of the Concordat arrangement and the implementation of major budget reductions.
In the years following TP21, the EIS rapidly increased its own role in terms of CPD development. This included the appointment within EIS structures of around 100 Learning Representatives working across Local Authorities and within schools and FE colleges
CPD policy making within the EIS is now determined within a CPD sub-committee of the Education Committee which was enshrined within the EIS Constitution in 2009.
Of particular significance has been the EIS role in developing partnerships with a number of university providers to develop CPD courses suitable for and accessible to teachers throughout their careers. The first of these was a partnership with the University of West of Scotland in developing Chartered Teacher courses for teachers.
In 2010 this partnership remains the biggest provider of Chartered Teacher courses in Scotland. More recently, the EIS has developed a partnership with the University of Aberdeen. This brings EIS Learning Representatives working in the North East of Scotland close to the work of the university in taking forward CPD developments.
In particular, in session 2009-2010, there have been a series of highly successful CPD events organised on Saturdays involving personnel from the university along with EIS Learning Representatives and other EIS members in different capacities.
Since developing a policy in relation to "Leadership in Schools” in 2008, the EIS has worked with the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow in developing leadership CPD.
The first pilot course on this has been running within the two universities from the early part of 2010. A summer school is planned in Edinburgh in August 2010. Further courses will be available later in the year for those who have completed course 1 with the two universities and course 1 will be repeated during session 2010-2011.
These partnerships between the universities and the EIS are not paper partnerships. They bring EIS Learning Representatives and other EIS personnel and teachers close to the work of the universities themselves.
It means that the EIS and teachers have considerable influence with regards to course content and delivery, in addition to the marketing of the courses and encouraging teachers to take part in quality CPD.
The next section of this paper seeks to answer the questions set out in the call for evidence on the review of teacher education in Scotland.