Voice Official Response 2109: Consultation on the Possibility of Secondary Probationer Teachers Achieving Full Registration in Two Subjects

Voice Scotland's response to General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)



Further information

GTCS's consultation (see below for further background



Dougie Atkinson
Professional Officer (Scotland)
Email: dougieatkinson@voicetheunion.org.uk

Background information from GTCS:

Consultation on the Possibility of Secondary Probationer Teachers Achieving Full Registration in Two Subjects

Status: Closed (13 January 2015 to 9 February 2015)

Why We Held This Consultation


Two recent reports (from the Teacher Workforce Planning Working Group (TWPWG) (2013) and the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education (2013)) concluded that there would be advantages in increasing the number of Secondary teachers who are fully registered in two subjects. These included the deployment of teachers in the context of Curriculum for Excellence, their involvement in cross-curricular activities, enhanced and more flexible timetabling options, and enhanced employment prospects for teachers, advantages that may be of particular benefit to pupils and teachers in smaller schools.

The report of the TWPWG

The relevant sections of the TWPWG report were paragraph 8.2, and recommendations 17 to 20.

The report of the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education

Recommendation 43 applies.

The reports suggested that the number of dual qualified teachers could be increased if full registration in two subjects were possible by the end of the Induction Year.

This consultation aimed to ascertain the degree of support for a proposal to introduce the possibility of gaining full registration in a defined set of pairs of subjects by the end of the probationary period. In terms of equality of opportunity, it considered both the Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) and the Flexible Route (FR).

Background: Existing Provision to Gain Full Registration in Two Subjects


Since the inception of the TIS in 2002, probationer teachers with a teaching qualification in two subjects have only been able to secure full registration in a second subject after it has been gained in the first. To obtain full registration in the second, the Professional Registration process requires a further 95 days of teaching, with the second subject making up at least 20% of the teaching time. However, relatively few teachers take up this option. Regardless of the outcome of this consultation, it is intended to retain this facility.

The Proposal Offered for Consultation


The three main elements of the proposal were:

1. Registration in 2 subjects should be possible only in a specified range of combinations.

This element of the proposal is based on initial discussions with the local authorities and universities represented on the TWPWG. The specified combinations proposed are based on curricular areas where there may be some content or pedagogical overlap. These are likely to be the most viable combinations in terms of university provision, the logistics of timetabling, support and assessment issues, student and probationer placements, and employability. They are:

Sciences – any 2 from biology, chemistry, physics
Social subjects and RME – any 2 from geography, history, modern studies, RME
Modern Foreign Languages – any 2 from French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish
Computing with business education or mathematics
Drama with music or English
Physics with mathematics

However, the consultation invited suggestions for other subject pairings. Also, it should be noted that the outcome of this consultation would not preclude a university from offering a dual subject qualification in any combination it chooses, or an employer from seeking to recruit a teacher with any subject combination considered relevant, only that such combinations would not be achievable during the probationary period. Full registration in other subject combinations would continue to be available through the existing Professional Registration route.

2. The teaching time for probationers aiming for dual registration should be as equal as possible in terms of the 2 subjects.

In terms of the TIS, ideally each subject should be taught for 9 hours per week (the current 55% minimum being just under 12 ½ hours per week). As this will be difficult to achieve in practice, the consultation seeks views on the limits of the balance between the two subjects in terms of an absolute minimum for either of them. In terms of the FR, each subject should account for 135 days out of the 270 required; if this is not possible, then the question arises of what an absolute minimum number of days should be.

3. No additional subjects should be included in the weekly timetable of dual registration probationers.

During the TIS, it is not uncommon for probationers to be allocated classes in other curricular areas such as non-specialist Religious and Moral Education (RME) or health and wellbeing. Given the reduced weekly teaching time in each of the dual registration subjects, it is proposed that no other curricular areas are included in the weekly timetables of such probationers. On the FR, probationers may agree to take on general supply work in other curricular areas, but such days would not count towards the 270 required for registration purposes.

We will publish a collated summary of all responses on our website in the spring of 2015.