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Unpicking the Teacher Standards (England)

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

The Teachers’ Standards for use in schools in England define the minimum level of practice expected of trainees and teachers from the point of being awarded qualified teacher status (QTS).

The Teachers’ Standards are used to assess all trainees working towards QTS, and all those completing their statutory induction period. They are also used to assess the performance of all teachers with QTS who are subject to The Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012, and may additionally be used to assess the performance of teachers who are subject to these regulations and who hold qualified teacher learning and skills (QTLS) status.

The Teachers’ Standards apply to:

  • trainees working towards QTS;

  • all teachers completing their statutory induction period (newly qualified teachers [NQTs]); and

  • teachers in maintained schools, including maintained special schools, who are covered by the 2012 appraisal regulations.

Teachers make the education of their pupils their first concern, and are accountable for achieving the highest possible standards in work and conduct. Teachers act with honesty and integrity; have strong subject knowledge, keep their knowledge and skills as teachers up-to-date and are self-critical; forge positive professional relationships, and work with parents in the best interests of their pupils.

A teacher must:

1. Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils

  • establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils, rooted in mutual respect

  • set goals that stretch and challenge pupils of all backgrounds, abilities and dispositions

  • demonstrate consistently the positive attitudes, values and behaviour which are expected of pupils.

2. Promote good progress and outcomes by pupils

  • be accountable for pupils’ attainment, progress and outcomes

  • be aware of pupils’ capabilities and their prior knowledge, and plan teaching to build on these

  • guide pupils to reflect on the progress they have made and their emerging needs

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how pupils learn and how this impacts on teaching

  • encourage pupils to take a responsible and conscientious attitude to their own work and study.

3. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge

  • have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils’ interest in the subject, and address misunderstandings

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of developments in the subject and curriculum areas, and promote the value of scholarship

  • demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher’s specialist subject

  • if teaching early reading, demonstrate a clear understanding of systematic synthetic phonics

  • if teaching early mathematics, demonstrate a clear understanding of appropriate teaching strategies.

4. Plan and teach well structured lessons

  • impart knowledge and develop understanding through effective use of lesson time

  • promote a love of learning and children’s intellectual curiosity

  • set homework and plan other out-of-class activities to consolidate and extend the knowledge and understanding pupils have acquired

  • reflect systematically on the effectiveness of lessons and approaches to teaching

  • contribute to the design and provision of an engaging curriculum within the relevant subject area(s).

5. Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils

  • know when and how to differentiate appropriately, using approaches which enable pupils to be taught effectively

  • have a secure understanding of how a range of factors can inhibit pupils’ ability to learn, and how best to overcome these

  • demonstrate an awareness of the physical, social and intellectual development of children, and know how to adapt teaching to support pupils’ education at different stages of development

  • have a clear understanding of the needs of all pupils, including those with special educational needs; those of high ability; those with English as an additional language; those with disabilities; and be able to use and evaluate distinctive teaching approaches to engage and support them.

6. Make accurate and productive use of assessment

  • know and understand how to assess the relevant subject and curriculum areas, including statutory assessment requirements

  • make use of formative and summative assessment to secure pupils’ progress

  • use relevant data to monitor progress, set targets, and plan subsequent lessons

  • give pupils regular feedback, both orally and through accurate marking, and encourage pupils to respond to the feedback.

7. Manage behaviour effectively to ensure a good and safe learning environment

  • have clear rules and routines for behaviour in classrooms, and take responsibility for promoting good and courteous behaviour both in classrooms and around the school, in accordance with the school’s behaviour policy

  • have high expectations of behaviour, and establish a framework for discipline with a range of strategies, using praise, sanctions and rewards consistently and fairly

  • manage classes effectively, using approaches which are appropriate to pupils’ needs in order to involve and motivate them

  • maintain good relationships with pupils, exercise appropriate authority, and act decisively when necessary.

8. Fulfil wider professional responsibilities

  • make a positive contribution to the wider life and ethos of the school

  • develop effective professional relationships with colleagues, knowing how and when to draw on advice and specialist support

  • deploy support staff effectively

  • take responsibility for improving teaching through appropriate professional development, responding to advice and feedback from colleagues

  • communicate effectively with parents with regard to pupils’ achievements and well-being.

But what does this all mean?! I have put together a guide to all this in the document below which unpicks each substandard, looking at the key words within them and what exactly it is the standard is assessing:

Unpicking the Teacher Standards
Download PDF • 284KB

You can also find some hints and tips on evidencing the Teacher Standards in a previous post.

A big "Thank You" also to Chrissie over at @pfateach (on Instagram) for condensing this behemoth document down to a page per standard for use as file dividers. She has kindly shared her Disney-themed file here:

Teaching Standard File Dividers
Download DOCX • 4.66MB

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