Read our response to the government’s Strengthening Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and Improving Career Progression for Teachers consultation.
The objective of the consultation is to support teachers, ensure the right structures are in place at the beginning of a teacher’s career and improve access to structured professional development and progression opportunities for teachers throughout their career.
We approach this consultation response by considering how any changes to QTS status and career progression can support learners with SEND and inclusive teaching.
DYT’s position is that QTS needs inclusion to be “built-in, not bolt on.” This should include the relationship between SEND and emerging literacy and how this impacts on accessing a text-heavy curriculum and recording knowledge. An extension of the induction period, post-ITT will allow opportunities for NQTs to receive specific training to understand these learners and how to ensure their requirements are met in a classroom environment.
8 in 10 SEND learners are in mainstream classrooms. If we are to enable them to prosper we must ensure that teachers can support them. We share the government’s ambition to develop leadership positions within the profession, for instance through subject specialism. However, our position is that current Specialist Leaders in Education is a good model to follow and could be explored in the remits of SEND and literacy.
1. Developing a National Inclusion Education Strategy
The Government should develop a National Inclusion Education Strategy by the end of 2019. This must sit alongside the DfE’s departmental strategy, with appropriate ministerial oversight. The strategy must be both compliant with legal responsibilities and knowledge-based to provide teachers at all levels and stages of career options which include SEND and literacy. This should specifically highlight expected practice standards in:
– Initial teacher training;
– Further structured training for NQTs in the proposed two-year induction
– CPD for all teachers, including headteachers.
2. Extending the induction period and creating an early career content framework.
The government should proceed with an extended induction period for teachers and the creation of a training framework. The induction period must include a focus on the responsibilities of teachers set out in the Children and Families Act (2014) and SEND Code of Practice (2015) and how SEND and literacy difficulties can impact on the progress some children make.
3. Realistic expectations for NQTs.
The induction period should allow for a foundation layer of awareness training for inclusion. The early content framework should provide a basic overview of SEND in the classroom and include an understanding of the “four broad areas of [SEND] need and support” as laid out in the Code of Practice. Teachers need to know how to recognise common difficulties that children may face in school, how they impact on teaching, and, crucially, make clear who teachers can ask for support and advice. The Inclusion Lead needs to be trained and supported so that they can be an effective signpost and leader in the school.
Mentoring and coaching
4. Review the evidence.
The government should look further into the evidence base behind the effectiveness of mentoring and set out in clear terms to schools how mentoring should be structured and delivered. For SENCos, SLE’s and Inclusion Leads there should be clear support network that allows staff that work with vulnerable children supervision, coaching opportunities to explore best ways of working with parents and teaching staff and mentoring to encourage career progression through the inclusion route.
Career progression and leadership
5. Define roles.
There is already a multitude of specialist roles within the system, such as National Leaders in Education, Specialist Leaders in Education, Advisory Teachers and Specialist Teachers. We recommend that the government defines what it means by specialist teacher and uses existing structures where appropriate.
6. There are too many demands on the SENCo
The SENCo role should be considered as two separate duties – on the one hand day-to-day administration tasks and the other a SLE role which concentrates on the delivery of teaching and learning with a SEND and literacy focus.
7. The SENCo and Literacy Lead roles should work in alignment.
There should be clear guidelines distinguishing the roles and responsibilities between SENCos and Literacy Leads so they work in harmony to ensure that learners with literacy difficulties and SEND make progress, an example of this would be making clear who is responsible for literacy interventions or teaching and learning in certain areas around inclusion.
8. Ensure knowledge of SEND is part of Chartered Teacher Status.
DYT supports the proposed new idea of ‘chartered teacher’ status overseen by the Chartered College of Teaching, we would like to see a specialist teacher qualification in SEND and literacy as part of the portfolio for such chartered status. Furthermore, DYT recommends a more senior career progression route for a SLE as an Inclusion Lead.
9. Put inclusion at the centre of CPD.
We recommend that the government consults with SEND experts about the development of a new CPD framework, which must have an embedded commitment to upskilling teachers in supporting SEND learners. We welcome the idea of ring-fencing CPD funding for schools. We recommend this goes further to ring-fence SEND funding within schools in the same way that Pupil Premium funding is, and that schools should be accountable with impact measured.
10. Ensure independence.
Driver Youth Trust would welcome an independent accrediting system that could ‘badge’ any CPD on offer. However, very careful thought must be given to the body responsible for this process and SEND and literacy CPD
should be a priority for any such body. The body should be rigorous in their evaluation, however, cannot just be a data-driven exercise as building expertise in teachers requires a holistic approach.
For more information contact Dan Baynes: Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org