Press release

Great teachers could become ‘Master Teachers’

A new ‘Master Teacher Standard’ to recognise outstanding teachers should be introduced, according to an independent review commissioned by the Government.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Master Teacher Standards

The review team, led by Sally Coates, Principal of Burlington Danes Academy in London, were asked to simplify the current teachers’ standards, which define the qualities and skills expected of teachers at various career stages. Their first report, published in July, raised the bar in terms of defining the minimum requirements for all teachers.

The review team has now considered the standards expected for more experienced and higher performing teachers. They are recommending scrapping the existing system, which has three separate categories, and introducing a single ‘Master Teacher Standard.’ This will recognise truly excellent teachers and provide a focal point for all good teachers to plan their professional and career development.

The Government has welcomed the review team’s recommendations and is now considering how they might be implemented.

The ‘Master Teacher Standard’ describes a clear set of characteristics for high-performing teachers. They include:

  • Deep and extensive knowledge of their specialism, going beyond the set programmes they teach.
  • Command of the classroom, skilfully leading, encouraging and extending pupils. They will have the respect of both pupils and parents.
  • Excellent planning and organisation to ensure pupils are well-prepared for all forms of assessment.
  • Their classes demonstrate a stimulating culture of scholarship alongside a sense of mutual respect and good manners.
  • They are highly regarded by colleagues, who want to learn from them. They play a role in the development of school policies and they engage with professional networks beyond the school.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

The proposal to establish a new ‘Master Teacher Standard’, that identifies and recognises our many outstanding teachers, will send a powerful message about what constitutes the very best in teaching.

The proposal has the potential to bring much greater simplicity and clarity to what is at present a complex and highly bureaucratic system of standards. It is a further step towards our ambition to elevate the status of the teaching profession and ensure the very best are recognised as key figures in the intellectual life of the country.

Sally Coates, Chair of the review group said:

The ‘Master Teacher Standard’ we are proposing takes the standards to a very high level for the most able teachers. It is designed to set out a powerful statement of what it means to be a really excellent teacher, and I am confident that those who can meet the standard will be proud to be known as ‘Master Teachers.’

These are teachers who will have the deepest impact on improving the lives of their pupils. It is absolutely right that such an achievement should be properly recognised by the new Standard, and I hope that we have out set a vision to which all teachers can aspire. I very much look forward to seeing our proposals being taken forward and put into practice.

Joan Deslandes, Headteacher of Kingsford Community School, Newham, said today:

For hundreds of years, Britain has led the way in education. The ‘Master Teacher Standard’ represents a clear and effective model which will ensure that our country continues its great tradition of pioneering, inspirational teaching.

A benchmark for educational excellence, the ‘Master Teacher Standard’ will motivate a new generation of teachers to develop innovative strategies which improve learning, so that every young person, from every walk of life, realises their full potential.

Diane Rochford, Headteacher of John F Kennedy Special School, Newham, said.

It will encourage and strengthen performance in the classroom, in all educational settings, whilst recognising those teachers who continually seek to find ways to inspire and engage learners - regardless of their starting point in life.

Greg Wallace, Executive Principal, Best Start Federation (which runs primary schools in London Fields, Mandeville, Whitmore, and Woodberry Down), said:

I think the new ‘Master Teacher Standard’ is a major step forward in defining the characteristics of expert teachers. The standard is something all good teachers will aspire to meet. The very good use of language within the standard gives us a strong sense of what the classrooms of ‘Master Teachers’ will be like. Words like ‘command’ and ‘inspire’ help create a concrete image of what we need from teachers at the top of the profession.

The Secretary of State has today written to Sally Coates welcoming her report and the principle and wording of the ‘Master Teacher Standard.’

His letter explains that he needs to consider carefully how the ‘Master Teacher Standard’ might be introduced before any arrangements can be made for its implementation. This will include asking the School Teachers Review Body to consider the implications for teachers’ pay of the report’s recommendation to discontinue the Post-Threshold, Excellent Teacher and Advanced Skills Teacher standards.

Notes to editors

  1. Sally Coates’ report and Michael Gove’s letter are available from the Review of Teachers’ Standard page on the Department for Education’s website.

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Published 12 December 2011