Press release

New standards raise the bar for teachers

All teachers will be expected to meet new standards of competence and conduct from September 2012, following an independent review of the skills that teachers should possess.

  • More focused on classroom skills and expertise

  • Behaviour management and subject knowledge vital

All teachers will be expected to meet new standards of competence and conduct from September 2012, following an independent review of the skills that teachers should possess. They are a key part of the Government’s ambition to ensure the status and quality of the teaching profession continues to rise.

In March this year, the government asked Sally Coates, Principal of Burlington Danes Academy in West London, to lead a review of standards for teachers. The standards place a sharp focus on the key elements of teaching - including subject knowledge, managing behaviour and teaching pupils with a variety of special needs - and will set a clear and unambiguous benchmark for teachers, regardless of whether they are newly qualified or have been in post for many years.

The government has today accepted the review’s recommendations including:

  • Improving the rigour of teaching standards and ensuring they focus more on the essential teaching skills required in the classroom.
  • Recommending a single set of standards for all teachers, replacing the current duplication of different standards issued from different bodies - reducing them to just eight standards for teaching from 33 standards for QTS and 41 for Core and to just three standards for personal and professional conduct from the eight principles in the GTCE Code.
  • Setting a clear expectation that teachers must not undermine fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

The government launched the review because the existing standards are not fit for purpose. More than a third of teachers do not feel they provide a good definition of teacher competence and 41 per cent believe they do not make any difference to the way they teach.

In place of the old ambiguous and vague system, the new standards are practical and clear about the competencies that all teachers should have.

They will:

  • help headteachers assess teacher performance
  • provide clear requirements on teachers having skills to tackle bad pupil behaviour
  • make sure that teachers are able to teach the core basics of reading and writing, including understanding systematic synthetic phonics.

Sally Coates, chair of the review, said today:

Nothing has more impact on a child’s achievement than the quality of teaching they receive and in the new standards for teachers we have prioritised the importance of classroom practice and subject knowledge.

I hope the review’s recommendations will ensure the benchmark for entry to the profession is rigorous and firmly based in teaching. I want every teacher to consider these the standards of expectation and build upon them in their career.

Sally Coates talks about the Teachers’ Standards Review.

Michael Gove welcomed the recommendations:

The old standards placed a premium on bland statements and platitudes over practical use for teachers and they had to be improved. Sally and her team have produced a new set of standards with real teeth. They set clear expectations about the skills that every teacher in our schools should demonstrate.

They will make a significant improvement to teaching by ensuring teachers can focus on the skills that matter most.

Review panel member Roy Blatchford, Deputy Chair and Director of the National Education Trust, commented:

The new Teachers’ Standards give an unequivocal message that highly effective teaching is what matters in this profession.

The Review Group has seized the opportunity to raise the bar for current and future teachers. Our nation’s children and young people deserve no less.

Greg Wallace, Executive Principal of the Best Start Federation of schools in Hackney, said:

We’ve been using synthetic phonics as our primary ‘learn to read’ strategy for the last decade. Over that period I’ve consistently seen synthetic phonics serve children with a very wide range of needs incredibly well.

Given what we know about the effective teaching of reading, the expectation that all primary teachers should know how to use this method expertly is long overdue. I am thrilled to see the use of synthetic phonics enshrined in the new national standards for teachers because all children have the right to be taught to read as early - and as quickly - as possible.

The second phase of the review, starting this month, will look at the standards required for advanced skills teachers and excellent teachers.

Notes for editors

  1. The new standards along with a copy of a letter from Sally Coates to Michael Gove and his reply are available on the Review of Teachers’ Standards section of the Department for Education’s website.

  2. The Teachers’ Standards Review Group consisted of:
    • Chair - Sally Coates, Principal of Burlington Danes Academy, London
    • Richard Aird - headteacher of Barrs Court Special School, Hereford
    • Professor Roy Blatchford - Director of the National Education Trust
    • Joan Deslandes - headteacher of Kingsford Community School, Beckton
    • Judith Fenn - Head of School Services at the Independent Schools Council
    • Patrick Leeson - Independent Observer, Director of Development, Education and Care at Ofsted
    • John McIntosh OBE - former headteacher of the London Oratory School
    • Dr Dan Moynihan - Chief Executive of Harris Academies
    • Professor O’Hear - former Head of the Department of Education at Buckingham University
    • Leanne Simmonds - Subject Leader of Modern Foreign Languages at Evelyn Grace Academy, London
    • Patricia Sowter CBE - Principal of Cuckoo Hall Academy
    • Ava Sturridge-Packer CBE - headteacher of St Mary’s CofE Primary School, Birmingham
    • Greg Wallace - Executive Principal for the London Fields/Woodberry Down Federation in Hackney
    • Brett Wigdortz - Chief Executive of Teach First
    • Lizzie Williams - Primary School lead teacher at King Solomon Academy, London
  3. Currently teachers have to meet the standards of professional competence promoted by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) as well as the General Teaching Council for England’s (GTCE) Code of Conduct and Practice for Registered Teachers.

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