Teachers demand ‘culture change’ in schools to improve career progression

A culture change is needed at schools over how teachers are able to progress their careers, according to a union.

NASUWT, which represents those in the profession, said a wider range of career pathways is needed for teachers in order to make the most of their skills.

Its call marks the publication of a report by the independent panel on career pathways for teachers, which sets out a series of recommendations on how the profession can be enhanced and supported.

Amongst its recommendations, the panel said a career pathway should be established for specialist roles in curricular, pedagogical and policy delivery through the creation of a new post of lead teacher.

It also stated opportunities should be created which enable career progression “both incrementally and laterally for all teachers”.

High quality, systematic, coherent and accessible support for career development should also be available for all teachers, the report further recommended.

It said the Principles for Career Pathways should be adopted by the “profession and all stakeholders”, whilst all recommendations from the Career Panel Pathways report should be implemented by August 2021.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “The NASUWT, as a member of the panel, has raised consistently the need for a culture change in schools around how teachers progress and advance their careers.

“The union welcomes the positive and progressive recommendations contained in the report, which if implemented fully across all schools, would go a long way to achieving this much-needed change in culture.

“Technological and societal change, as well as competition in recruitment from other sectors, must be recognised and addressed to attract and retain skilled teachers.

“Teachers need a wider range of pathways through which they can develop their careers, pathways which offer greater flexibility, enabling them to make the most of their skills, abilities and interests.

“All of this must be underpinned by a statutory entitlement to high-quality, career-long professional development for every teacher and school leader and pay structures which reflect the highly skilled professional and pedagogic demands of the job.

“It will now be key that the SNCT [Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers] works to turn these recommendations into reality, for the benefit not only of the teaching profession, but also for children and young people who are entitled to be taught by highly skilled and trained teachers.”

Jane Peckham, NASUWT Scotland, said the union also welcomed the acknowledgement of barriers facing BME teachers in the profession.

Ms Peckham said: “The NASUWT has been calling for action for many years to tackle the gross under-representation of black and minority ethnic teachers in leadership positions in Scottish schools.

“The union, therefore, is pleased that the report acknowledges the need to identify and eradicate the barriers which BME teachers are currently facing in gaining promotion and recognition for their skills.

“The NASUWT will now be pressing through the SNCT for this and the other recommendations in the report to be implemented fully in every school.”