Speaking at the National Association of School Masters and Union of Women Teachers annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, the TTA's chief executive, Anthea Millett, called for a new partnership to promote teaching as a profession.
She said: 'We must work together to attract high calibre candidates for teacher training. But only through the efforts of teachers can the profession maintain and build its status. A profession with confidence in itself is a profession which takes responsibility for training and developing the next generation of teachers. It is also one which reflects on and improves its own performance.'
The Teacher Training Agency has developed a far-reaching programme to attract teachers to the profession. An information hotline for those with an interest in teaching as a career has been established, and has attracted around 40,000 enquiries in the last year alone. An internet site has also been established, which has attracted around 20,000 visits since it was established in April 1996.
The TTA is also advocating a programme of continuing professional development for teachers. The Agency has developed the successful HEADLAMP programme which in the past year has benefited over 2000 newly-appointed headteachers, and is now in the process of developing a new National Professional Qualification for Headship, for those aspiring to become headteachers.
Following the Secretary of State's announcement, a National Professional Qualification for subject leaders will follow, and expert classroom teachers and serving headteachers are all set to benefit from the development of national standards which the TTA is developing.
'We must provide a range of opportunities for teachers' professional development. The programmes we have in place and those we are developing are designed to improve standards in our classrooms. There must be a direct link between a teacher's professional development and raising levels of achievement in our schools. That is a strong motivating factor for teachers and those aspiring to become teachers,' added Anthea Millett.
Additional priorities for the Agency include:
-- securing effective targeting of national priorities for continuing professional development
-- producing written guidance to schools on well-targeted training and development
-- producing needs assessment materials to help teachers and schools to audit their training needs in the key area of subject knowledge
-- promoting effective continuing professional development in relation to those teaching pupils with special educational needs, including developing national standards for Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators
All this work will lead, over time and after consultation, to the development of the first ever national professional framework for teachers.