Headlines: March 5th, 2001

In a move to attract and retain the best teachers, a new continuing professional development strategy has been launched. Seventy thousand teachers will benefit from ‘Learning and teaching’, a comprehensive package of development and training opportunities.A Professional Bursaries’ pilot programme will give teachers up to 700 pounds to support their own professional development. They will be able to spend the money in a variety of ways including conferences and workshop fees. If the pilot is successful it could mean some elements of training budgets passing directly to teachers who would decide how the money is spent.

The Teachers’ International Professional Development scheme will be continued following a successful first year of operation and will benefit 1000 teachers. This provides opportunities to look at best practice activities internationally. The scholarships provide 3000 pounds to support teacher enquiry and classroom based research.

Teachers who work in challenging schools will be given the opportunity to undertake short sabbaticals out of the classroom specifically for their personal and professional development activity and research.

In a break with tradition there will be early professional development for teachers in their second and third years of teaching. The strategy also includes measures to ensure that Head teachers are more accountable for the quality of professional development in their schools.

The National Union for Teachers have welcomed the strategy and will run their own professional development programme.