Horizontal career development opportunities

Until relatively recently, the only way for teachers to progress beyond a certain point in terms of both responsibility and rewards, was too often to leave the classroom for positions in school management, education administration or policy development; this was known as ‘vertical’ career development. Today, a range of options allow ‘horizontal’ career growth, recognizing the need to allow good teachers to continue teaching and use their experience and competencies to benefit other teachers. A horizontal career path will involve several categories, with corresponding salary ranges. Promotion from the first category – that of newly qualified or graduate teacher – to confirmed teacher status may depending on the teacher becoming licensed or obtaining certification. Different education systems have established a series of different categories or levels, with titles such as ‘accomplished teachers’, ‘expert teachers’, ‘leading teachers’, ‘mentor teachers’,‘advanced skills’ or ‘master teachers’. Each category should be associated with a clear competency framework describing the required performance standards and the evidence used to define them (see Section 3.7).

Opportunities for horizontal career development usually include remaining in the classroom as an ‘expert’ or such as curriculum and materials development, colleague support and mentoring, planning and teaching coordination within a given subject area or grade (as head of department or head of year), or ‘advanced skills’ teacher, while taking on responsibilities supporting school leadership. It may also include outside school roles, such as mentoring teachers in a cluster of schools, providing leadership or training to groups of teachers, or contributing to curriculum development or research. In addition to increased salary, such positions may entail additional rewards, such as ‘teaching and learning responsibility payments’, grade and subject coordinator allowances, mentoring allowances, or reduced teaching hours.

3.4.1 Diversified career development opportunities offering differentiated but equivalent paths

Vertical career development opportunities