ACTS Newsletter 08 November 2010

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Newsletter Welcome Stop press: Chartered Teacher “Freeze” Annie McSeveney: an appreciation ACTS Conference 2011 Membership renewal Teachers as Researchers Aberdeen GTCS Accomplished Teaching Seminar CPD Network Learning Rounds Book Review: Effective Action Research Share your research: here’s how Glasgow CT Network Launch CfE, CT and Making All Teachers Accomplished Edutalkr Gift Aid Contact ACTS


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Welcome to the November 2010 edition of the ACTS Newsletter There is an old adage: “Smooth seas make for poor sailors.” This newsletter emerges in turbulent times for education when Chartered Teachers may well be about to discover just how good their sea-legs are. Let us hope that those who are steering the ship are listening to the well-informed and respected voices singing of the value of CTs’ contribution to the education of our young people, and ignoring the sirens’ voices with their seductive but disastrous invitation.

Thank you to so many of you who have contacted us with your expressions of sympathy following the sudden death of Annie McSeveney, our founding Chair, and to those who were able to attend her funeral. These messages have all been passed on to her family. Her eldest daughter Kirsty wrote recently “Every message means a lot, and it helps to know that everybody thought well of my mum.”

Taking forward Annie’s vision for a research-based community of Chartered Teachers has helped ACTS to recover the momentum of development which was temporarily interrupted. Teachers as Researchers events, generously supported by the GTCS, have been launched and you can read here about the first one. And you will see that the 2011 Conference promises to be bigger, better and even more worthwhile than the first. Be sure to renew your membership and book your free place.

We wish you all compliments of the coming season, and hope that your well-earned break in December is festive and restful in equal measure.


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Chartered Teacher “Freeze” David Noble and Dorothy Coe attended a meeting at EIS headquarters regarding the bullet point in a letter of 17th November from the Scottish Government and COSLA to Local Authority Leaders, proposing to “Freeze entry into the Chartered Teacher Scheme.”

They learned that two SNCT meetings will take place within the next two weeks, which may give an indication of the likely changes to aspects of teachers’ pay and conditions, and may reference elements of TP21, including those relevant to teachers who are considering or are on the route to Chartered Teacher status. David will attend a further meeting on Friday 10th December, when more detail may be available.

ACTS will write immediately to the Scottish Government and COSLA requesting clarification of the proposal relating to Chartered Teacher and will communicate any reply to our members as soon as it is received.

The EIS completely supports Chartered Teacher policy in its present format and suggests that those interested in the Chartered Teacher programme enrol with a provider as soon as possible.


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Annie McSeveney 1946 – 2010

Annie McSeveney, founding Chair of ACTS, sadly died on Monday 23rd August 2010 of complications following surgery to treat a sub arachnoid haemorrhage. Members of her family were with her. Annie’s funeral was attended by over 100 friends and colleagues reflecting Annie’s many and varied activities and interests: ACTS, the GTCS, the Open University, Edinburgh University, teachers from schools in the Borders, Peebles Orchestra, Dunedin Wind Band, St Mary’s Loch Sailing Club and more were represented.

Warmth, compassion, intelligence and vision are qualities to which Annie gave real meaning in all her interactions. The breadth of Annie’s interests was matched by her energetic enthusiasm and wholehearted commitment to everything she did. She was a truly inspiring person. Annie was born on 22nd July 1946 in Bradford. Teaching first in Shotts and then in Biggar, she subsequently moved to Leadhills as Head Teacher, before returning to class teaching at Braidwood Primary School, Carluke.

Annie was in the first group of teachers to be able to attain Chartered Teacher status. She accepted the invitation of the GTCS to become an assessor and supervisor for other Chartered Teachers. A combination of counselling skills, learned as a Breastfeeding Counsellor for the National Childbirth Trust, and extensive professional knowledge, helped her to oversee the successful passage of many more teachers to Chartered status.

Retirement was not a sign for Annie to slow down. As an assessor and supervisor, Annie recognised the range of experience and skills being shown by Chartered Teacher candidates and with the support of the GTCS, Annie began the labour that would lead to the birth of the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland (ACTS), celebrated in 2009 at the Scottish 4

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 Parliament in the presence of the Cabinet Secretary and many respected educationists. As Chair, she continued to drive forward the development of ACTS into new areas with energy, clear vision and unwavering confidence.

Meanwhile, her own professional development continued. Having gained a masters in Education, she was about to submit the final draft of a doctoral thesis when she took ill. She had shared some of her work on this at the Scottish Educational Research Association conference in 2008. Annie would have presented the findings of recent research work with Dr Margery McMahon of Glasgow University on evaluating accomplished teaching at the European Educational Research Association conference in Helsinki in August.

Such a rich professional life would be enough to satisfy most, but Annie managed to add to this active interests in music, sailing, running and belly dancing. She played clarinet and, with her husband Sach, organised several recorder groups. She was thrilled when her father also took this up, describing her great delight in playing recorder with him recently.

After observing her children’s pleasure in their success with sailing, she joined in, becoming a member of St Mary’s Loch Sailing Club, taking part in three National championships and winning the Knockout Cup in 2001. She completed the Run Glasgow 10K in May in 1hr 12 minutes and was planning to run in the Glasgow half marathon. Despite a professed lack of competitive instinct, she never ceased to challenge herself to achieve more and at an ever higher standard.

She had five children and four grandchildren, all much loved, with whom she was very involved. Three of Annie’s children conducted the service with dignity and composure, telling us about Annie’s life and the qualities that made her such an inspiring mother, grandmother, teacher, colleague and personal friend to many. They each shared with us memories of Annie which for them exemplified her character. Their strength and support for each other was remarkable – in itself a tribute to their mother.

Annie’s time here was too short, but she did not waste a single minute of it.


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

ACTS Conference 2011 – Book your place now!

“Inspiring leaders of learning” is the title of the second conference of the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland (ACTS) to take place on Saturday, 5th February 2011 at the Stirling Management Centre.

Participants will be able to hear Graham Donaldson discuss the conclusions of the Review of Teacher Education in Scotland, discover how the role of Chartered Teachers is developing across Scotland, engage with the latest educational thinking, research and policy, and find out about further opportunities for study.

David Noble, Acting Chair of ACTS describes the outline for the 2011 conference. “The day will feature music, two keynote speakers, learning conversations, workshops, panel discussion, exhibitions, web conferencing with colleagues abroad, and a critical reflection on the event by Professor Christopher Day of the University of Nottingham.”

The ACTS committee, comprising classroom-based teachers from across Scotland, expect to repeat the atmosphere of the first conference which led to positive and appreciative comments from participants such as “Inspiring, challenging, thought provoking.” and “A great day- very useful and extremely enjoyable.” Another participant said “All of the speakers helped affirm the important role of the CT in questioning, challenging … conducting research, and leading ideas about practice.”

The event, sponsored by The Scottish Government, the Education Institute of Scotland, General Teaching Council for Scotland, and the University of the West of Scotland, is open to any educationist, and is free to members of ACTS. Teachers who are fully Chartered or ‘on 6

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 the route’ can join ACTS at and then reserve their free place at the conference at Those who do not wish to join ACTS can visit this website to purchase a ticket for the event.

Full details about this national event can be found at or by emailing

Membership renewal Renewal of all memberships is due on 1st January 2011 in line with the change agreed at the last AGM. Subscriptions are £25 for full membership and £15 for associate or supporter membership. The simplest way of renewing is by BACS transfer to ACTS: Sort Code 80-06-55 Account No 06033226 Please be sure to add your full name so that we know who payment is from. Further details on membership renewal are available at: Please note: It is essential to renew your membership to qualify for your free place at the conference!


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Teachers as Researchers Aberdeen by Lucy Hare Aberdeen University: 18 September 2010 The first ACTS Teachers as Researchers event was hosted by Sandra Nicol and Catriona Macdonald of the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen.

The day was launched with some lively music from the talented Fiddle group at Cults Academy.

Sandra delivered the keynote address examining the historical background to teachers researching practice and where we are at currently. The morning session focussed on small groups reflecting on the question, “What does research mean for you?” The diversity of research experience and motivations for doing so were reflected in the responses of the group participants: -

Reaction to circumstances


Sharing/support/Teaching and Learning Communities


Personal curiosity -

Problem solving/change


A comment made by a child ‘Boys don’t play with dolls’


Passion about learning and teaching/satisfaction


Reflecting personal values about learning and teaching -







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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 The small group reflection question in the afternoon was, “What do you need to move forward?� The main issues were firstly the need for Senior Management Teams in schools to understand and value research work with a willingness to work with pro-active Chartered Teachers to take this forward in schools.

An improved Professional Review and

Development system for Chartered Teachers was seen as a step to achieving this. Some group members felt it was important that research align with the School Improvement Plan whilst others felt that they could research an area of interest which sat outside the SIP. Securing funding to allow time of out class and having time to carry out research, given the implications of embedding Curriculum for Excellence, has presented difficulties for some with advice from other group members to explore various sources of funding, including research as part of the Working Time Agreement and negotiating with colleagues to swap RCCT time to allow for a block of time out class.

An enhanced role for Universities in supporting

teachers with research after Initial Teacher Education and the probationary year has ended was explored. The nature of what constitutes research evidence was discussed given the greater use of video recording, learning logs etc.

The experiences of Chartered Teachers varied enormously given the range of contexts we work in. Quality, focussed CPD events as a forum for sharing research experiences and supporting professional growth were identified as a positive way of moving the teachers as researchers agenda forward.

ACTS gratefully acknowledges the partnership of the University of Aberdeen for this event, and the generous sponsorship by the GTCS for this and 2 future Teachers as Researchers events in 2011. Lucy Hare Chartered Teacher, Livingston Village Primary School


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

The GTCS Accomplished Teacher and Teaching Seminar An invited International symposium on accomplished teachers and teaching took place in June 2010,

hosted by the GTCS and the University of Glasgow and sponsored by the

Scottish Government.

Subsequently, in September 2010, the GTCS hosted a two day seminar with representatives from local authorities, schools, the Scottish Government, teacher education providers, researchers and stakeholders including teacher associations and Chartered Teachers.

The aims of the seminar were: 

to share and extend current thinking on the recognition and sustaining of accomplished teachers and teaching

to establish working groups to generate and potentially take forward specific proposals for the development of accomplished teachers and teaching including the Chartered Teacher in Scottish schools

to agree areas of future collaboration in knowledge exchange and development

A synopsis paper of the preceding International Symposium had been prepared by Christine Forde of Glasgow University and circulated to all participants prior to the seminar. This included issues such as the definition of accomplished teaching, the enhancement of teaching quality, the role of accomplished teachers including Chartered Teachers in schools the contribution of accomplished teachers and their impact on pupil learning.

The seminar was led by researchers from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Oxford.

Key issues which emerged frequently throughout the 2 days were 

facilitating the CPD of Chartered Teachers

the crucial role of effective PRD

Interesting proposals and strategies were presented by each working group. Some of these are summarised below: 10

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Create a culture of professional learning where teachers are the learners. This culture has the school as its primary site of learning where schools are learning communities offering milestones as a broad range of markers and prompts on their professional journey.

Create an enhanced culture of professional learning at all levels, embedding the code of practice and developing collaborative, multi-layered partnerships.

Accomplished teachers to be responsible for their own professional development and to collaborate to develop others professionally

Accomplished teaching achieved through teachers as continuous learners Promote the development of 21st century approaches to and supports for vigorously executed and transformational CPD

Build and develop the CPD portfolio approaches of ITE

Ensure a national co-ordinated CPD provision

Systems of recognition for all kinds of professional learning

This seminar provided a forum for interactions between individuals from a range of stakeholders in education. There were opportunities throughout the 2 days to raise the profile of ACTS, extending awareness of our current and future activities. Dorothy Coe Chartered Teacher, St Peter’s Primary School, Galashiels


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Learning Rounds – Leadership for Learning by Lucy Hare Learning Rounds involve a team of colleagues observing and learning about and from school practice.

The Learning Rounds initiator consults colleagues who have expressed an interest in developing a Learning Round on the focus of the Learning Round observation e.g. pace and challenge. A mixed group of colleagues brings diversity of experience and perspective. The initiator then asks colleagues to volunteer to be observed with the expectation that they will then be observers in later Learning Rounds.

Staff are trained by the initiator in the Learning Rounds process and use of the descriptive voice when constructing the evidence. The team then visit a range of classes over a morning or afternoon to create an evidence base.

The observers record only what they have

observed using a recording format of their own choice.

On the same day the Learning

Rounds group meet to share their observations. Critically these descriptions are free of evaluative comment or value-laden points. Furthermore, no evaluation of individuals takes place and no individual feedback is provided to those who have been observed. From this collectively agreed evidence base the Learning Rounds group discuss and decide how they will use the data to make improvement school wide.

Proponents of Learning Rounds suggest the process delivers high quality, sustainable improvements to pupil learning experiences in a range of contexts through each member of the observation team developing a greater understanding of effective learning and teaching. In terms of capacity building Learning Rounds may develop a culture of collegiality and shared learning and a vehicle to bring about sustainable system wide improvement.

On the basis of this training I plan to explore this approach to school improvement with my colleagues further this session. Lucy Hare 12

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 Chartered Teacher, Livingston Village Primary School

The Learning Rounds Toolkit can be found here:

References Blane, D (2010) ‘New style of CPD doing the rounds’ at (last accessed 24 September 2010) Elmore, R.F. (2000) Building a New Structure for School Leadership. Washington DC: The Albert Shanker Institute (last accessed 24 September 2010)


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Effective Action Research: it does exactly what it says on the tin by Tony Luby This article to be published in Education Today 60(4) December 2010, and published

here by kind permission. Effective Action Research - Developing Reflective Thinking and Practice, Patrick J. M. Costello,Continuum Pub. date: 14 Mar 2011

It soon becomes apparent to the reader that this work 'does exactly what it says on the tin.' Careful use of Effective Action Research will enable a beginning teacher-researcher to approach action research with a high degree of confidence. For a more experienced teacher-researcher it provides a more than useful refresher.

An updated version of his earlier work, Action Research, the author's main emphasis is on developing reflective thinking and practice. Costello sets out to achieve this through sets of reflective exercises that are designed to enable the reader to complete an action research project. These exercises are helpfully supported by the use of illustrative examples from his own research experiences.

In the opening chapter Costello poses the question 'What is action research?' He leads us through a concise and informative tripartite analysis of   

What is research? What is educational research? What is action research?

Most compelling, though, is his assertion that “...writers offer their own competing and complementary views as to the fundamental character of action research.” This fluidity of the concept of action research is attractive for teachers as our roles can be so varied. There is not one right way to undertake action research; rather there are many.

The second chapter entitled 'Why undertake action research?' is less satisfactory in that the author rehearses his argument concerning the relationships between educational theory and practice but, disappointingly, fails to make reference to the 1986 work of Carr & Kemmis, 14

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 Becoming critical: Education, knowledge and action research which has an astonishing 2505 citations (Google Scholar, 28 August 2010). Nonetheless, he makes amends with his discussion of Lawrence Stenhouse whose writing is well ahead of its time and is strikingly relevant today. Stenhouse's seminal 1975 An introduction to curriculum research and development has been cited 2453 times and, really, should be the first read for any teacher who is considering an action research project. Any perceived weaknesses in this chapter, though, are more than compensated with Costello's discussion of the relationship between action research and the impact that it makes upon both school improvement and teachers' CPD. Indeed, this chapter 'comes alive' when the author gives voice to teachers whom he mentored under the auspices of the General Teaching Council Wales Teacher Research Scholarship scheme.

In the following chapter, and drawing upon a wealth of experience, Costello offers very good advice on choosing a research topic, undertaking a literature review and, for those in higher education, how to develop a sound working relationship with a tutor. For those undertaking doctoral dissertations, though, a brief discussion of the assertion of Fink (2005) Conducting Research Literature Reviews that such reviews should be reproducible would not have gone amiss. The fourth chapter is concerned with collecting research data and there are useful checklists and reflective exercises related to ethical issues. Action research projects are often criticised for a lack of rigour and the author gives both a succinct analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative and qualitative approaches, and a clear description of the concepts of reliability, validity and generalisability. The inevitable dryness of such topics is enlivened by Costello's use of three fictitious action research projects at the end of the chapter. And this effective and practical approach is continued by the author in the next chapter when he discusses how to analyse research data.

Whilst the sixth chapter provides clear advice with regard to producing an action research project it is the subsequent chapter that is a jewel in the crown. Focussing on assessment in higher education Figure 7.1 & Reflective Exercise 7.1 provide an excellent tool for teacherresearchers to reflect upon their research project. Taking it a step further, a teacherresearcher could ask colleagues to use such a checklist prior to completion of the report writing process. This may prove to be a very beneficial introduction to the refereeing process for potential authors and this theme is developed in the following chapter. 15

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

The penultimate chapter contains very useful recommended reading and the author concludes his book with 'Endnote: the theory and practice of action research.' In this last chapter Costello claims that he has focused on “...the practice of action research� and I have little hesitation in endorsing his claim. And it is for this focus on practice that I highly recommend this book to any teacher or educationalist who wishes to undertake effective action research. Tony Luby Chartered Teacher in Aberdeen

Share your research Have you ever carried out a piece of action research or professional enquiry in your classroom? If so, who knows about it?

There are many teachers across Scotland who are researching and developing their own practice. Many of these are as a result of the Chartered Teacher Programme, however by no means all. Many teachers use an action research approach to their own professional development without participating in Chartered Teacher.

For both of these groups of Teacher Researchers, there is a problem of dissemination. Very often the outcomes of the enquiry are contained within the school, or a University assignment. There's so much going on, but the learning isn't necessarily spreading across the profession.

In an attempt to resolve this, ACTS are supporting an initiative to capture this learning through a series of short videos.

Do you have something to share? Would you be happy to be interviewed? If so, please contact directly.


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

ACTS at SLF10 ACTS was pleased to be a partner on the GTC Scotland stand at the Scottish Learning Festival at the SECC in Glasgow in September 2010.

Glasgow Chartered Teacher Network Launch by Sheila Waddell The Glasgow Chartered Teacher Planning Group held its first highly successful Connections event, on October 5th in St Mungo’s Museum in Glasgow. Over fifty fully Chartered and aspiring Chartered Teachers heard Tom Hamilton of the General Teaching Council Scotland outline the history of the programme and stress that Chartered Teachers’ primary role was educational, not managerial.

“There are,” Mr Hamilton said, “1107 Chartered Teachers in Scotland as of September 2010, 918 of them female and 189 male.” Of these, just over half were secondary teachers and just under half primary teachers.

Glasgow had the highest number of Chartered Teachers (117), while a further 280 were on the route to Chartered teacher. However this amounted to only 2.29% of the teaching force in the city. He pointed out that there was a wide discrepancy in the number of Chartered Teachers in different authorities. In Orkney, where the local authority was very supportive, over 5% of teachers were Chartered, but that percentage fell to just 1% in some authorities.

Mr Hamilton also stated that the revision of the Standard for Chartered Teacher had increased the clarity of the Standard: the stress on values had been increased, while greater 17

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 guidance had been given on the role of the Chartered Teacher, with emphasis on the fact that this was not a managerial one, and that the principal role of a Chartered Teacher was in the classroom. In addition, the new application process, whereby teachers had to obtain a certificate of eligibility was working well, as this was now tied to the PRD process in schools.

However he stressed that HMIE had made critical comments about head teachers not knowing who their Chartered Teachers were and said that these heads needed to be thinking about what they could get their chartered teachers to do. Mr Hamilton said that HMIE had said that Chartered Teachers had “a real gift” and made “a positive contribution.” It also appeared to be easier for Chartered Teachers to operate successfully in schools where there was a group of them, while the ethos of the school was important and needed to be supportive.

Mr Hamilton pointed out that we were entering “hard times financially” and added “this is a real opportunity for Chartered Teachers to prove their worth. Having Chartered teachers adds to the value of schools.” He also insisted: “We still need to address the ill-informed views of some head teachers,” pointing out that he had come across one head teacher who did not even know about the Standard for Chartered Teacher.

After paying tribute to the hard work carried out by the late Annie McSeveney in setting up the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland, he then encouraged all those present to join ACTS and attend the ACTS annual conference on February 5th at Stirling Management Centre. He concluded by saying: “We need to push the positives of Chartered Teacher, we need to drive it forward.”

Mr Hamilton was followed by Moira Hume of Glasgow University, standing in for Margery McMahon She talked about the benefits of the scholarly model of teaching, including greater understanding of pupil needs. However she pointed out that there were equity issues, as US research had shown that accomplished teachers were not working in high needs schools.

The challenge, she claimed was: “How do we attract Chartered teachers for high needs schools?” She felt that the pattern of mobility of chartered teachers needed to be examined, and that one way forward might be to use Chartered Teachers as mentors, in the way that 18

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 accomplished teachers were used in North America.

However whether or not this could be

achieved would, she said “depend on the willingness of head teachers in other schools� to support such a scheme. One possibility, she felt, was beginning teacher secondments to high needs schools. She also thought that Chartered Teachers could be used as a resource via community networks.

The Glasgow Chartered Teacher Planning Group, which includes three members of the ACTS Committee, is now working towards a second Connections Event in February, which is likely to be on Curriculum for Excellence.

Sheila Waddell Chartered Teacher at Hyndland Secondary School, Glasgow

Three Difficult Concepts: CfE, CTs and Making all Teachers Accomplished by Frances Mckie I have been a Chartered Teacher for 5 years. I am very proud of Scottish Education and I am

aware that on at least two counts, Chartered Teachers and the Curriculum for

Excellence, there is the prospect of a new period of excellence.

Recently renewed Standards and Codes of Practice which must be met by all teachers in Scotland at key stages of their careers raise an expectation that can feel intimidating within a profession that is already very closely monitored and assessed. But the rationale, to raise credibility and encourage pride in what we do, is clearly benign and supportive when set in the context of Curriculum for Excellence

These are two powerful messages: firstly, we expect the highest standards from teachers and will take action, if we must, to make sure of them; and secondly, we have faith that these standards are being met and trust teachers to use their individual professional judgements


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 to devise and sustain meaningful learning in all Scottish schools. Taken together they signify a huge change - for the better.

CfE, emphasising the quality of individual teachers and their freedom to use their own judgement, reflects a worldwide concern to understand and promote what really makes learning experiences meaningful and successful. I believe CfE - if it is carried through - will be an inspired response to the realisation, once again, that the quality of the teacher and the relationship he or she establishes with learners is the single vital element of all education the “leading out” of learners. To accomplished teachers whether they are Chartered Teacher or not, Curriculum for Excellence must be a welcome invitation to accept trust, recognition and high expectation of their professionalism and individual talents in the classroom, the subtext surely a vision that all Scottish teachers can and should be accomplished teachers.

However, it is also probable that the recent history of the Scottish education system has made it particularly difficult for many of those who manage our schools to absorb and act upon the meaning and the implications of Curriculum for Excellence. At the moment, in reaction to the implementation of CfE, there appears to be a continuous stream of doubts and uncertainties, requests for more detailed “training” and CPD. The current managers of our educational system and our schools, usually perceived as the key agents of change, seem, ironically, worst placed to fulfil that role. And the present doubting reaction from many of them is understandable: they are waiting for the existing hierarchical system to declare what will be measured, what will now be valued, what must be provided as evidence, and what they must initiate, monitor and

record. That has been the normal and traditional process of


Tanya Fitzgerald and Helen M Gunter (“Contesting the Orthodoxy of Teacher Leadership” 2001 )have considered the ethos which prevails in the education systems of New Zealand and England:

“ Terms such as ‘leader’, ‘manager’, ‘teacher’ and ‘student’ prevail in most schools and, accordingly, school hierarchies are viewed as rational ways of organizing teachers and their work that institutionalize authority. We are deeply concerned that the 20

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 term ‘teacher leadership’ has crept into educational vocabulary and there has not been sustained and robust debate either about the term or its use and misuse in schools. Although one of the positive aspects that this term signals is the possibility of more participation in schools, the enduring contradiction is that leadership






organizational purpose. More specifically, teacher leadership is a seductively functionalist way in which teacher commitment to neo-liberal reform has been secured.”

Scotland has a different system, but it seems to me, as a practising Chartered teacher, that the same sort of hierarchical, intensely monitored structure and interpretation of leadership has been embedded even more firmly in Scottish schools during the last 30 years. I have experienced the national crisis in my own subject during the fierce struggles over Higher Still English, as the hierarchical enforcement clashed very sharply with the professional concerns and commitment of highly motivated teachers; I have experienced the satisfaction of the management hierarchy supporting initiatives from the classroom like Early Learning and I have also witnessed the crushing of individual ideas as highly motivated, skilled teachers find that their ideas are not deemed part of the “school development plan”.

It is quite understandable that in all education systems the need for accountability can drive power, control and most innovation back to the centre/government level.

However, as Fitzgerald and Gunter argue, such control and continual monitoring for quality assurance can in turn create a culture of dependency, a desire to be “trained”, conformity, hierarchical managerialism and illusions, at all levels, of success and progress as boxes are ticked for quality assurance purposes. Subjects

are apparently covered, directives are

adopted, courses are attended; exam statistics may even look good. As new directives and initiatives emerge, again from the centre of power and control at government level, leadership is functional, facilitating, enforcing and, if the change is seen to be “embedded”, assessed as “good leadership”.


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 “This power differential is acutely played out in schools precisely because the very nature of their organization places some adults in hierarchical positions to others, and all adults (whether teaching or non-teaching staff) in authoritative positions relative to students. This orthodoxy is reinforced by the ways in which leadership is shaped and determined by national policy agendas, irrespective of national context. We are troubled by the apparent canonization of organizational leadership in schools and the eruption of a leadership industry to train and certify leaders, leading and leadership in schools (the National College for School Leadership in England is one such example). Equally, concern by policymakers that school leadership, pupil attainment, school improvement and school effectiveness are inextricably linked has prompted the promulgation of standards for leaders and normative training programmes for aspiring and current leaders in schools “(Gunter 2001).

For very many teachers, the safest course in such a system is often to develop methods of satisfying the requirements of Quality Assurance; but this can be very demoralising and, in my opinion, can disguise and has often disguised and still does disguise some very bad situations. Again, Fitzgerald and Gunter point out that Government can be tempted by the illusion that, as long as managers have apparently functioned successfully as facilitators of directives, all is well:

“while there might be calls for more teachers to engage in leadership (Muijs and Harris 2003) or for leadership practices to be distributed (Lambert 2000), this tends to be about




requirements than






Notwithstanding this point, while leadership might be distributed within schools, we seriously question whether 22

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 power has been similarly distributed. As we argue in this article, teacher leadership is firmly rooted in neo-liberal versions of the performing school (Gunter 2001). More importantly, this article rests on our intense disquiet about this new orthodoxy and our abiding concern that teacher leadership is illiberal in its conceptualization and purposes and presupposes an orthodoxy about who might lead and who might be led. Accordingly, the three central questions that we would like to pose are: firstly, why teacher leadership; secondly, why now; thirdly, is this a customized solution for teachers to deliver government policy?�

The recognition in Scotland that such an ethos of conformity and central control does not guarantee what is known as deep learning and meaningful learning experiences for all our pupils


symbolised by the Chartered Teacher programme and the Curriculum for

Excellence. Along with concern and support for the existence of accomplished teaching the Scottish Government has put in place three complementary movements which - if we hold our nerve - will empower teachers and, as Dr Anne Pia recently pointed out, learners (TESS 3rd September 2010), to realign our schools as places where ideas and excellence can flourish.

This is because Curriculum for Excellence has recognised the legitimacy of professional autonomy in those teachers who, despite the high value placed on conformity, instinctively and habitually use particular individual strengths and abilities to drive on beyond - and sometimes despite - the prevailing requirements of QA to meet their own targets of deep learning and progress for all their pupils.

Similarly, from the NBCT report “Measuring What Matters� we can see recognition in America that moving away from centralist, hierarchical systems of power, control and accountability must go hand in hand with empowerment of accomplished teachers to lead changes like Curriculum for Excellence in a collective, transformative and collegial basis. Their authority


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ACTS Newsletter November 2010 as change agents, rather than using any positional power, must and will come solely from earned recognition of their success in the classroom:

“As a result of our collaborative journey, we have also gained a deeper understanding of the factors that diminish the impact of quality teaching standards on school performance. Chief among them is this: Teachers are not yet considered full partners in the important work of educational reform. We believe National Board Certified Teachers are uniquely positioned to challenge this outdated perception of teachers as mere instruments of policy and not cocreators. It is time for NBCTs to use what we know, as exemplary teachers, to lead our schools, colleagues, and policymakers toward more effective decisions and practices focused on genuine student learning.”

“There is ample evidence that top-down mandates have not improved student learning or “teacher-proofed” our schools. The public is coming to see that you cannot teach children from the halls of Congress or the cubicles of education publishing houses.” (“Measuring What Matters” (NBCT))

The aim - as the NBCT teachers point out - is not to create or sustain an elite grouping, but to create an environment where every teacher is encouraged and empowered to be accomplished. . The next step, therefore, within Curriculum for Excellence, is surely further development of the Chartered teacher initiative. A hierarchical managerial system does not easily adapt to the principles of CfE or to the absorption of Chartered teachers. And we cannot expect individual CTs scattered throughout Scottish schools to change such an embedded culture of positional power and organisation on their own. Help is needed, even if it has to be in the form of further advice about values and change agency, from government level. In this way, perhaps, the deepest irony lies in the fact that, in order to establish CfE successfully, the hierarchical system which it challenges must be used one last time. 24

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ACTS Newsletter November 2010

For these reasons, I see Curriculum for Excellence, the Chartered Teacher movement and the present focus on accomplished teachers as groundbreaking

and inspiring initiatives.

They go together and, if they are supported through the process of change, have the potential to achieve real fulfilment for all teachers and learners in Scotland.

References 

Gunter, H M. "Contesting the orthodoxy of teacher leadership." International Journal of Leadership in Education 11 (2009): 331-340.


Measuring What Matters: The Effects of National Board Certification on Advancing 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Frances McKie Chartered Teacher at Inverness Royal Academy


ACTS is a Registered Scottish Charity - Number SCO41390

ACTS Newsletter November 2010


EDUtalkr ( is a bi-monthly 30/45-minute internet radio show which is organised by the education community in Scotland. It facilitates discussion on educational issues, with the aim of advancing teaching and learning. It is free to listen to, participate in, and collaborate on. Panelists take part in the discussion through a conference call, using their mobile phone, landline or Skype account. The conference call contains the Chair and up to six panelists, with the live conversation streamed online. There are no call cost to panelists, and listeners to the live stream can email or 'tweet' questions and comments before or during the event. In advance, the education community help to build the list of panelists and points for discussion and identify a suitable Chair. All shows are broadcast live at and previous editions can be listened to at . To listen live, you need to be at a computer that has a recent version of Flash installed and a good broadband connection to the internet.

Show 4, a discussion on e-assessment and e-portfolios, featured: 

Margaret Vass, Chartered Teacher, John Johnston, ICT Staff Development Officer, N Lanarkshire  Veronica Harris e-assessment and learning team, SQA They discussed 1. How ready are schools for e-assessment on demand ? 2. Candidate evidence in an e-portfolio managing this at classroom level ? 3. Role of NAR (National Assessment Resource) 4. Their hopes for the future of e-learning 

This can be accessed here:

The next show takes place on Thursday, 20th January 2011 from 8.15 - 9.00pm GMT Listen to the live broadcast at


ACTS is a Registered Scottish Charity - Number SCO41390

ACTS Newsletter November 2010

Join ACTS Join by completing the form below and returning it to: ACTS, 6 Monar Court, Dalgety Bay, DUNFERMLINE, KY11 9XJ, AND either: Making a BACS payment to Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland. Sort Code 80-06-55. Account Number 06033226 Or: Sending a cheque to the address above



o o o o

I wish to become a member of the Association of Chartered Teachers Scotland. I am a full Chartered Teacher (£25) I am following the CT Programme, having completed at least Module 1 (£15) I am a Chartered Teacher no longer registered with the GTCS but continuing to follow the Code of Conduct (£15)

o o o

I have made /will make a BACS payment I have enclosed a cheque Please treat this payment as a Gift Aid donation and all future payments that I make from the date of this declaration as Gift Aid donations.

If you are a taxpayer, ticking the Gift Aid box will allow ACTS to claim back 28p for every £1.


ACTS is a Registered Scottish Charity - Number SCO41390

ACTS Newsletter November 2010

giftaid it - Make your subscription go 28% further!

As an ACTS member, you will know how hard we work to ensure that every penny we collect goes as far as it can.

Through Gift Aid and Transitional

Relief, you can help us make your subscription go 28% further and it won’t cost you a penny more! How does it work? So long as you are a UK taxpayer, Gift Aid enables you to boost the value of your subscription by 28p for every £1 you pay (25p in Gift Aid and a further 3p in Transitional Relief). So, for example, if you pay £20 to ACTS, we will be able to reclaim an extra £5.60 from HM Revenue & Customs. This is a significant amount, and the more members who enable this, the more we can benefit. What is more, if you are a higher rate taxpayer, you are entitled to claim tax relief on your donations, enabling you to reclaim as much as 25p from every £1 donated to ACTS. What do you need to do? To donate through Gift Aid, all you need to do is complete a simple declaration (orally or in writing) confirming that you are a taxpayer and that you are happy for us to claim tax relief on your donation. Just one declaration can apply to all payments that you have made to us over the past 6 years and to any forthcoming gifts you make, until you notify them otherwise. It is that simple. Contact the Treasurer, Christine MacGregor to find out more about Gift Aid.

View the ACTS website at

Contact ACTS at The views expressed in this newsletter are those of the contributors and do not represent ACTS, or any other organisation.


ACTS is a Registered Scottish Charity - Number SCO41390

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