Scottish Teachers for a New Era (STNE) is a collaborative six-year pilot project whichseeks to prepare ‘teachers for a new era’ able to face up to the challenges of knowledgeand learning in the twenty-first century. The programme’s aims include the creation ofan extended professional culture, the broadening of learning experiences, opportunities todevelop new and personal approaches to teaching and a broader conceptualisation ofpupil gains leading to improved teacher and pupil learning.Developing a Continuum of New Teacher Learning,Development and SupportMay 2010IntroductionOne key objective of the STNE project is the development of a seamless continuum of teacher support(including mentoring), learning and development from pre-service through induction and into the earlyyears of teaching, underpinned by strong partnerships between the University and various projectstakeholders (including seven partner local authorities, their schools and teachers).The overarching aim of this research was to develop a deeper understanding of teachers’ early careerexperiences, specifically the articulation between stages, continuing professional learning anddevelopment, support mechanisms and future development requirements.Key messages emerging from data collected over a two year period regarding the (support anddevelopment) experiences of Scottish teachers progressing through early career stages are presented. Theemergent strong evidence base is being used, on an on-going basis, to underpin the practical developmentof specific partnership activities to support achievement of the objective, an approach which closely alignswith one of the key project design principles, ‘decisions driven by evidence’.The research findings summarised here were initially published in a confidential STNE report (Robson andFitzpatrick, 2008)
Developing a Continuum of New Teacher Learning,Development and SupportPolicy BackdropThe idea of a partnership-based continuum of new teacher support and development aligns closely with thefoci of recent important Scottish educational policy developments, which encompass early careerprofessional development, teacher induction and support (including mentoring), and partnership in InitialTeacher Education (ITE).The 2001 McCrone Report recognised the importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD),both as a professional entitlement and responsibility, and accelerated progress towards the development ofa national CPD framework, to underpin and support lifelong learning.A subsequent joint research project between the Scottish Government and the General Teaching Councilfor Scotland led to the development of the Standard for Full Registration (SFR), which set out expectationsfor new teachers during their one year induction period (Teacher Induction Scheme) but also provided astructure for schools and employers developing the first stage of the CPD framework. Each probationer hasa 0.7/0.3 teaching /professional learning and development commitment, a structured induction programmeprovided by local authorities and schools, and a designated supporter (mentor). National data highlighted agenerally successful scheme (Pearson and Robson, 2005a,b) (Clarke et al, 2007), but also pointed to someareas for improvement, notably limitations in the continuity of CPD and inconsistent mentoring practices.Coupled with this, it appears that there has been relatively limited thought given to immediate post-Induction CPD and support needs, and very little evidence exists as to formal policies and provision fromthe Universities and/or the local authorities (GTCS, 2006) - a clear gap exists in terms of opportunities forfocused CPD pathways between the Induction Scheme and the Chartered Teacher Scheme. As such, theseare areas where, potentially, strong partnership activity between stakeholders (an interconnected model ofCPD provision) would bear fruit in relation to continuum development, reflecting comments made in a2005 Ministerial response (SEED, 2005) to the conclusions of the 2nd Stage Review of Initial TeacherEducation.In this connection, the evidence-informed STNE development provides a vehicle to enable investigation ofpartnership opportunities in relation to early career professional learning, development and support.In addition, in light of the recent announcement (Scottish Government, 2009) concerning a new Review ofTeacher Education in Scotland which will consider, amongst other topics, interconnections between ITE,Induction and continuing professional learning and development, the findings presented and resultantpartnership-based activities outlined in this summary report, may be viewed as particularly timely.
Developing a Continuum of New Teacher Learning,Development and SupportMethod and FindingsMethodTo enable the ‘landscape’ of early career experiences to be investigated, a mixed method approach to datacollection and analysis was adopted. Over a two year period, data was collected from Induction year teachersand mentors, and years 1 and 2 fully registered teachers (employed in partner local authorities).Questionnaires, focus groups and evaluation events were used to gather a bank of quantitative and qualitativedata specifically related to : (i) transitions between early career stages (including ITE to Induction year); and (ii) the provision of CPD and support (including mentoring) during and beyond the Induction year.FindingsAn overarching analysis of the collated data highlighted generally positive transition, CPD and supportexperiences for early career teachers, but also pinpointed a number of other specific research findingspotentially forming a focus for further development of partnership-based activity, and subsequent enhancedpractices. Many of the findings from the detailed, but comparatively locallised study reported here, align withthe findings of previous national studies (Pearson and Robson, 2005a,b; Clarke et al, 2007).Key messages emerging from the research emphasised the need to reinforce and progressively strengthenexisting partnerships, and pointed to a number of partnership-based activities focussed on specific areasincluding : • the need for the development of an enhanced ‘transition to teaching’ profile document for new teachers to support personal CPD planning activities during (and possibly beyond) the Induction Year, and recognised by all stakeholders; • the development of CPD programmes and pathways tailored to the needs of individual and groups of new teachers, incorporating non-credit bearing and Masters level credit bearing opportunities; • the development of a balanced suite of mentor training programmes for all teachers working with STNE students and beginning teachers; • the development of web-based support vehicles for delivery of proposed and related developments.
Developing a Continuum of New Teacher Learning,Development and SupportDeveloping the ContinuumTo date, a number of specific activities, resulting from a deeper understanding of new teacher experiences,have been initiated, including : • the collaborative development and delivery of programme- related CPD, specifically CPD events for mentors, and new year 3 and 4 courses (in mentoring and action research); • the development, piloting and evaluation of a new ‘transition to teaching profile’ to be adopted for use across all HE institutions in Scotland offering ITE programmes; • the development of a New Teachers’ Network virtual resource and information network for new teachers and all personnel involved in their support, which may be integrated with other initiatives such as the national GLOW network, and offer interactive on-line learning opportunities; • the development of CPD activities / courses for year 5 and 6 teachers with credit bearing and non- credit bearing options to support / augment activities offered by the local authorities. Courses link to the key STNE areas of evidence gathering, reflexive practice, action research (linked to pupil gains) and cross-disciplinary practice. Appropriate training for in-school mentors supporting new teachers during these stages is planned, further strengthening links between the University and schools in partner authorities. An MSc in Enhanced Professional Practice postgraduate degree programme has been developed, enabling new teachers to follow a flexible, credit-bearing CPD pathway, whilst achieving and maintaining the SFR.ReferencesClarke, R., Matheson, I., Morris, P. & Robson, D. (2007) Models of Support in the Teacher Induction Scheme in Scotland : The Views of Head Teachers and Supporters. Proc. 32nd ATEE Conference, Telford, UK, August 2007.General Teaching Council for Scotland (2006) Developing Teachers : A Review of Early Professional Learning. Research Pub. No. 3. Edinburgh : GTCS.Pearson M.A. and Robson, D. (2005a) Reflecting on Experiences of the Teacher Induction Scheme. GTCS Occasional Pub. No.5. Edinburgh : GTCS.Pearson M.A. and Robson, D. (2005b) Reflecting on Experiences of the Teacher Induction Scheme : Operation, Support & CPD. GTCS Occasional Pub. No.6. Edinburgh : GTCS.Robson, D. and Fitzpatrick, R. (2008) Developing a Continuum of New Teacher Learning, Development and Support. STNE Confidential Report, September 2008.Scottish Executive Education Department (2005) 2nd Stage Review of Initial Teacher Education : Ministerial Response, p6. Edinburgh : Scottish Executive Education DepartmentScottish Government (2009). Review of teacher education. Available: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2009/11/20103407 [Date Accessed: 12/05/2010]