teaching and learning in more than three quarters of the secondary
schools and two thirds of the primary schools inspected as part of an
Ofsted survey into the government scheme, according to a report
Advanced Skills Teachers were introduced by the government in 1998 to
help schools attract and retain excellent classroom teachers,
increase staff motivation, raise pupils' achievement levels and
broaden the skills and knowledge base of schools. The survey found
ASTs are generally skilled teachers who promote high standards in
their home schools as well as in their outreach work.
The report reveals that the management and deployment of ASTs have
improved recently, largely as a result of more active management by
local education authorities of their outreach work. It also showed that ASTs lead good
training sessions for other teachers and are effective in improving
teaching and learning. Secondary ASTs, in particular, often provide
very good support for newly qualified and trainee teachers.
Ofsted's director of inspection, David Taylor, said: 'This report shows that the AST programme has become more and more effective in the majority of schools. It is gratifying to note the
direct and positive impact on the quality of teaching and learning. '
Areas for improvement in the AST scheme were also highlighted by
inspectors, who found:
- procedures are rarely in place for schools to make clear judgements
about the value for money ASTs are providing;
- the training needs of the teachers and the schools with which the
ASTs work, and the criteria for measuring their success in meeting
these needs, are not always sufficiently clearly identified;
- performance management is generally not used effectively to channel
and support the ASTs' work or their development needs;
- primary ASTs find it difficult to plan their outr each commitments
as the time they can give to their support role is frequently
unspecified by their head teachers;
- LEAs' support and management of ASTs' outreach activities is
- a few primary school head teachers struggle to cover lessons
effectively when the ASTs work away from their own classrooms,
relying on daily supply cover;
- schools in 'special measures' or having 'serious weaknesses' have
particular difficulties in attracting suitable applicants for AST
Mr Taylor concluded: 'I hope that schools will note the clear pointers to areas for the
future development of the scheme, especially its 'outreach'
functions. However, this is an encouraging report, which underlines
just how crucial good teachers are in school improvement.'
This report is based on a survey of the work carried out by ASTs in
primary, secondary and special schools by HMI in 2002/03.The report
provides examples of good practice along with suggested action points
for LEAs and schools.
1. In 2001, Ofsted published a survey, entitled Advanced Skills
Teachers: A survey (HMI 1767) on the work of ASTs carried out by Her
Majesty's Inspectors (HMI) during the academic year 1999/2000. The
new report published today is based on a survey of a larger sample of
ASTs in primary, secondary and special schools, carried out by HMI in
2002/03. The inspection focused on the work of ASTs and their impact
on teaching, learning and standards in the home and outreach schools.
It also looked at how ASTs are recruited, trained, managed and
monitored. Visits were made to more than 60 schools in 27 LEAs, including county and small unitary
authorities, and metropolitan boroughs. In addition, a survey
questionnaire was sent to the 1,550 ASTs in post at the time (350
primary and 1,200 secondary), of which nearly 800 were returned and
subsequently analysed (a 55 per cent response).
2. Ofsted is a non-ministerial go vernment department established
under the Education (Schools) Act 1992 to take responsibility for the
inspection of all schools in England. Its role also includes the
inspection of local education authorities, teacher training
institutions and youth work. During 2001, Ofsted became responsible
for inspecting all 16-19 education and for the regulation of early
years childcare, including childminders.