The Donaldson Report (‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’) established significant aspirations for all teachers to commit to career-long professional development which will involve postgraduate study and lead to the acquisition of Masters-level qualifications being the norm rather than an exception. The GTCS Professional Update scheme has added weight to existing Council systems of Professional Review and Development, requiring all teachers to demonstrate how they are continuing to develop their professional knowledge and skills. The establishment of the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL) is ensuring that significant attention is being paid to opportunities for school leaders to be challenged and supported through the Scottish Qualification for Headship prior to appointment and through other post appointment opportunities.
The need for a distinctive form of CLPL provision for teachers working in Catholic schools emerges directly from the particular responsibilities of teaching as a member of a community of faith and learning. In this context, teachers are expected to support the aims, mission, ethos and values of the Catholic school. As catechists, when teaching programmes and courses of religious education, teachers are expected to know and to communicate the doctrinal teachings of the Church. Most often, they are regarded by children, young people and parents as witnesses to faith, expected to offer guidance on moral and social issues, and also to offer support and counsel to their students. Teachers are also regarded as people of integrity whose lives reflect the values and beliefs which they espouse.
To be equipped to meet their professional responsibilities, teachers in Catholic schools require opportunities to:
The Catholic school CLPL framework, through various events, courses and experiences, enables teachers to have access to such opportunities. Each year SCES publishes a Catholic School CLPL Cataloguee of relevant courses and events provided across Scotland by a range of providers: SCES, Diocesan R.E. Advisors, the St Andrew’s Foundation and others. While most courses are specified to take place at particular times and in particular locations, others are available to be provided flexibly by arrangement. Details of these CLPL opportunities can be found on this website.