Fast-track teachers will be recruited at college

AN ELITE squad of 20,000 "superteachers" will be recruited by the Government - most of them before they have started their first teaching job.

Union leaders attacked the plan to take on 1,000 teachers a year who will be fast-tracked through the profession. They said good teachers could not be identified until their ability to perform in the classroom had been proved.

David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, announced the scheme in a package to introduce performance-related pay for teachers at a cost of pounds 1bn over the next two years.

Fast-track teachers will be recruited from among undergraduates, those on teacher training courses and recently qualified teachers. A minority will be drawn from talented older staff and people in other professions. At present there are 416,000 teachers.

Mr Blunkett said on a visit to Hurlingham and Chelsea secondary school in west London: "It would be taken for granted in other professions that if you were motivated and wanted to get on you could. In teaching people have been held back. We have to break that."

As with fast-track civil servants, fast-track teachers will be selected nationally through a written exam and a residential assessment.

Successful candidates will reach the top of the classroom teacher scale in five instead of seven years and will be given extra support, but will haveto work longer hours and attend courses during the holidays. They will be assigned to schools that apply for a fast-track teacher but will stay only two years before they are moved on to another posting.

Fay Langley, 22, who began teaching at Hurlingham and Chelsea this term, said she would apply. "I want to get on quickly in my career and become a head. I think people who do well and work hard should be recognised." Ms Langley said she had no difficulty with the idea of working extra hours. "I want to be a very good teacher and working very hard is part of the job."

A system of "performance management" has operated for two years at Hurlingham and Chelsea school, which has been turned round after being close to failure five years ago. Pupils' progress is assessed twice a year and teachers are set targets, which are used to help to determine promotion.

Michael Murphy, the head, said a performance-related pay scheme would begin because of government reforms that will enable teachers who have reached the top of the classroom teachers' pay scale to volunteer for a "threshold" test. If they pass, they will get about pounds 2,000 extra and the chance to join a new pay scale and a salary of as much as pounds 35,000.

Mr Murphy denied performance pay was divisive. "It is more divisive to have two teachers paid the same where one is working twice as hard and twice as effectively as the other. Ability should be more important than longevity."

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "Teachers need to prove themselves with 11C on Friday afternoon before they can be put on a fast track. These teachers are going to have to be very good indeed if they are going to be put on a pedestal above their more experienced colleagues."

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said the idea that brilliant teachers could be identified before they started their first job was "a banana skin short of bonkers".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee