Teacher Education Reform in Scotland: National and Global Influences

Nov. 01, 2011

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 37, No. 4, November 2011, 387–397.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The current article provides an overview of the background and the processes at play in the current reshaping of teacher education in Scotland.

The authors reviewed policy documents and reports regarding the teacher education system in Scotland.
The article starts with the developments emanating in the past decade from the McCrone Report and finishes with the recent Donaldson Report.

The ‘McCrone Agreement’
The ‘McCrone Agreement’: A teaching profession for the 21st century published in 2001.
This agreement discusses teachers’ pay and conditions.

Following this agreement, an innovative Teacher Induction Scheme (TIS) was launched in 2002.
This initiative ensured that everyone successfully completing their ITE programme was guaranteed a year of continuous employment.

The McCrone Agreement also gave rise to the development of the Chartered Teacher (CT) scheme, again an innovative programme for supporting the development of teachers who did not wish to follow a management route in their career development.
Both the TIS and the CT scheme have encountered some difficulties of various kinds and are currently subject to.

The Donaldson Report: Teaching Scotland’s future
The Donaldson’s report, Teaching Scotland’s Future, was published in January 2011.
The Donaldson’s report sees teaching as an occupation that requires a strong and sophisticated professional development framework throughout every stage of the career. Donaldson says that good-quality education is based on both, and again this is throughout the career.
Furthermore, there are several overarching themes in Donaldson’s view of how teacher education should develop.
First, he emphasises the importance of the continuum of teacher development.
Second, he calls for much greater partnership between stakeholders.

There is a recommendation that it is time for the suite of standards to be reviewed, so that they are better linked within the continuum and so that they more accurately reflect twenty-first century priorities.

National and global influences

Finally, the Donaldson Report discusses four familiar themes in teacher education, which appeared to reflect global influences and national particularities.

Standards and competences
Standards in teaching are widely seen as part of the general move in the direction of an accountability based on notions of performance.

Degree routes
Donaldson proposes a replacement of the current four-year BEd programme by degree courses that provide greater opportunity to benefit from the wider university context.

Master’s level entry to the profession
Donaldson recommends that newly qualified teacher will gain masters level credits during initial teacher education qualifications, induction year activities and CPD beyond the induction year.

Partnerships and schools
Furthermore, Donaldson also recognizes of partnership in ITE.
Donaldson made reference to medical models such as the teaching hospital and came up with the notion of ‘hub schools’ that might specialise in teacher education.


This article concludes that the teacher education system in Scotland has been strongly influenced by needing to connect with the two dominant existing policies relating, respectively, to teachers’ work and conditions and to curriculum reform.

Donaldson, G. 2011. Teaching Scotland’s future. Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

Updated: Nov. 05, 2013