One in five teachers fail Chartered College's 'C-teach' tests

A fifth of teachers studying to be the first ever educators granted “chartered teacher status” have failed at least one part of the course so far – but they have eight strikes before they are out.

The chartered teacher or “CTeach” programme, launched last September by the newly instituted Chartered College of Teaching (CCT), is a 14-month course designed to represent a gold standard of excellence in teaching, which the college hopes will raise the status of the profession.

Professor Dame Alison Peacock, chief executive of the college, said the status would be recognised for “evidence-informed, high-quality teaching practice”.

Schools Week has found 20 per cent of the 127 teachers going through the first round of the programme have flunked one of their assessments so far.

Teachers are allowed to fail eight times (or three times on the same test) before they are disqualified.

The course is made up of three phases, and 20 different assessments.

Cat Scutt, director of education and research at CCT, said the course “sets a high standard”.

“As in comparable assessments from other professional bodies, such as RIBA for architecture, participants who are not successful on their first attempt at an assessment are able to resit,” she added.

Scutt said candidates do not resit immediately, and when they do questions differ from those initially sat.

Candidates can also choose to defer to a future cohort if they need more time to develop their practice.

The course phases focus on “behaviours”, “knowledge” and “practice”. Assessment includes a literature review, a written and oral exam testing subject knowledge, and a video journal.

Maths teacher Andrew Old, a regular critic of the college over its policy to allow non-teachers among its officers and council members, said studying for a qualification while working as a teacher “is extremely challenging”. He said resits are needed to ensure able teachers do not fail just because of workload issues.

“Any qualification aimed at classroom practitioners has to have a lot of flexibility to accommodate the demands of teaching,” Old added.

“It is better to allow several resits of a challenging test than to lower the demands of the qualification or target it only at those who do not have a full teaching load.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said the resit policy fell in line with other professions, such as solicitors or accountants.

“If you are trying to raise standards in the profession it is more important to ensure the qualification is worthwhile and helps you to be a better teacher.”

Applications for the next round of the course are now open.

The college will be looking at whether completion of other programmes – such as master’s programmes or chartered status from different subject associations – could be considered towards achievement of CTeach status.