Accept Refuse

EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Document 52012SC0374

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Supporting the Teaching Professions for Better Learning Outcomes Accompanying the document Communication from the Commission Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes

/* SWD/2012/0374 final */

In force


COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Supporting the Teaching Professions for Better Learning Outcomes Accompanying the document Communication from the Commission Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes /* SWD/2012/0374 final */

Table of Contents

Executive Summary.. 5

1.     Europe's teaching professions: common challenges and diversity   8

Teachers. 8

-       Demographic profile of Teachers in Europe: 8

-       Teachers' pay. 8

-       Responsibility for the definition of teachers’ competences: 10

-       Recruitment and retention of teachers: 10

-       Induction support for new teachers: 11

-       Professional development of teachers: 11

-       Feedback on teachers’ performance. 12

School leaders. 12

-       Administrative burden: 12

-       Recruitment, induction and professional development: 12

Teacher educators. 13

-       The profile of teacher educators: 13

-       Teacher educators’ competences. 13

2.     Supporting the teaching professions: the time is now... 15

Teachers are the key to improving the performance of learners….. 15

The crisis has had a strong impact on funding….. 15

… also brings certain opportunities. 16

Demographic trends point to a serious shortage of teachers in Europe…. 17

…and changes in the ways people teach and learn call for a new set of competences… 19

These challenges call for a concerted and urgent effort to support the teaching professions….. 20

…which can draw on co-operation and policy frameworks jointly developed at EU level….. 21

3.     Teachers: attracting and retaining the best.. 22

3.1 New sets of teaching competences. 22

Defining teachers’ competences. 23

Putting in place frameworks of teaching staff competences. 27

3.2 Recruiting and selecting the best 28

Recruitment criteria and processes. 29

Status, making the profession more attractive. 29

3.3 More effective initial teacher education. 31

3.4 How not to lose new teachers: personal and professional support 33

3.5 Professional development: Helping teachers to keep on learning. 35

Collaboration – a key factor for efficient professional development programmes. 38

Providing individualised learning opportunities embedded in the overall school development plans. 39

Appraisal and feedback as key instruments for professional development and satisfaction. 40

Provision for teaching staff to acquire and develop their competences. 42

4.     Strengthening School Leadership.. 43

4.1 Who are the leaders?. 43

4.2 Leadership is not administration. 44

4.3 Focus on the core competences of educational leadership. 46

4.4 Increasing attractiveness, recruitment and retention. 47

4.5 Initial preparation, support and continuous professional development 49

5.1 Towards a coherent and comprehensive policy in support of teacher educators. 52

5.2 Competences of teacher educators: much more than teachers. 54

5.3 Selecting teacher educators. 55

5.4 Professional development - helping Teacher Educators to keep on learning. 56

5.5 Supporting collaboration for better education of teachers. 58

6. Ten key actions to support the teaching professions.. 60

6.1        At Member State level 60

Five key actions to support teachers and trainers: 60

Three key actions to strengthen school leadership. 63

Two key actions to support teacher educators: 64

6.2  At European Commission level 64

Executive Summary

The “Rethinking Education” Communication aims to help Member States by setting out a range of fields in which the efficiency and effectiveness of education and training systems can be improved. In this context, given the importance of the teaching professions for learning outcomes, and the large proportion of national education budgets that is spent on them, it is essential to identify policies that reinforce the recruitment, initial education, induction and continuing professional development of teachers and trainers; the practice of school leadership; and the profession of teacher educators.

The teaching professions include all those who teach, educate, manage learning, or educate educators in the following education fields: early childhood education and care; compulsory education; vocational education and training; and adult education[1]. This Document applies to all these professionals (except where otherwise stated) and highlights the evidence base for the corresponding policy proposals outlined in the Communication “Rethinking Education”. The findings aim to support and encourage Member States to consider a number of priority areas for action and investment in teaching professions to achieve necessary reforms, taking into account the current socio-economic crisis.

Its findings are based on analyses, coordinated by the Commission in cooperation with Member States, of best policy practice across the EU and beyond, and on comparative data and current research.

The teaching professions now face rapidly changing demands, which require a new set of competences

Nowadays, the key focus is upon improving the levels of attainment of each and every learner. The pace of change in the world is so fast, that every teacher needs to keep her practice under constant, critical review and adjust it in the light of students’ outcomes and latest research. Teaching staff need to offer individualised teaching so that all learners achieve specified learning outcomes, whatever their particular learning needs, cultural or social background; they need to take maximum advantage of the latest technologies and methodologies. In short, teaching staff in the 21st century need a radically broader and more sophisticated set of competences than before. 

Europe's teaching professions have an exceptional impact on education

Variation in learners' achievements is predominantly a product of individual and family background characteristics. However, within educational institutions, teachers have the most important impact on the performance of learners; other staff, such as educational leaders, trainers and educators, are also essential to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

On average, more than two-thirds of Member States' education budgets are spent directly and indirectly on these teaching professions. This spending pattern will endure: it is essential, therefore, to invest in the most efficient and effective way, in support of a high-quality, well-trained and well-led teaching workforce which can help citizens to develop the competences they need in a global labour market based on ever higher skill levels.

The crisis increases pressure on public budgets…

As a result of the financial crisis and the need for fiscal consolidation, public budgets in all Member States are under great pressure. Governments are seeking ways of achieving more with fixed or reduced resources. All countries are seeking patterns of expenditure that limit or shrink current expenditure without dismantling the foundations of sustainable growth.

Despite a general understanding that investing in education should be preserved as a priority due to the centrality of skills for sustainable growth, education is not immune to these pressures, particularly in countries where the need for short-term fiscal consolidation is greatest. These financial reductions are seriously affecting the teaching professions; in 20 education systems, cuts have been made in teaching staff salaries or a salary freeze has been applied in response to the economic downturn.[2]

... as the ageing of teachers is becoming an alarming trend...

Many countries have serious shortages of staff in some subjects; several will soon have to replace large numbers of staff who have left the teaching professions or who will retire shortly. The ageing of teachers becomes an alarming trend in many Member States and corresponding policies will need to be balanced against the changes in the school-age population. There is a significant gender imbalance, with a general shortage of male staff in early childhood education, primary and lower secondary education and insufficient female staff in higher secondary education and in school-leaders positions.

...and technology is rapidly changing the way people teach and learn.

The impact of ICT and digital media on learning and teaching is already enormous, and will further change the way we acquire knowledge and competences. The growing availability of online content and open educational material and methods provides new learning opportunities to pupils and students, but also to teaching professionals, enabling them to acquire and provide knowledge in a flexible way (at any time and at any place), in a personalised way (with selection of trainings fitting one needs) and often at relatively low cost.

These challenges offer opportunities...

The retirement of a high number of staff in the teaching professions inevitably brings losses in experience: this problem must be addressed now through recruitment and retention policies, bringing in the best candidates to develop a new generation of teaching professionals. With the appropriate policies, the increasing numbers of job vacancies in the teaching professions over the coming years can be matched by job seekers, including young graduates, who may be attracted to the teaching professions; this opportunity should be used to the advantage of both the education and training systems and of the individuals, with a determined effort to address shortages in certain subjects as well as gender imbalances.

Developing the competences of teaching staff and school leaders, including those who have been in the profession for a long time, is a continuing and increasingly urgent priority in all Member States. The growing potential of digital learning with the new Open Educational Resources should be fully explored in this regard. 

...and call for strong actions to support teachers, school leaders and teacher educators

In the global economy, and in the current economic climate, education and training are more important than ever. Helping all citizens to develop the competences they need in a global labour market based on ever higher skill levels requires the Education and Training systems of Europe to adapt and improve thoroughly; it calls for radical changes in teaching and learning. This cannot be achieved without significant improvements to the ways that teaching staff are encouraged and supported so that they can help every learner to achieve optimum educational outcomes.

There is a long way to go to achieve these changes. All Member States need to act now, though the priorities will differ from country to country. The objective has to be the establishment of highly efficient and effective mechanisms to attract, recruit, educate, retain and support throughout their careers teachers, school leaders and teacher educators. This Document aims to contribute to this joint effort, by highlighting ten priority areas for action.

1.         Europe's teaching professions: common challenges and diversity

Although a number of common European challenges can be identified, there are also very significant differences in the structure, profile, organisation, social status or perception of teaching professions across the Member States. Policy actions must be carefully balanced to take the specificities outlined below into account as well as the general socio-economic trends and financial possibilities.  

Teachers -           Demographic profile of Teachers in Europe[3]:

There are approximately six million teachers in the European Union. The demographic change in European societies strongly affects the teaching professions in Europe. In many Member States, the majority of teachers currently in employment are in the highest age groups (40-49 and older than 50).

Generally speaking, teachers in secondary education are older than those in primary education. In 2010, in Germany and Italy more than half the teachers in secondary education were over 50. Similarly, in Bulgaria, Spain, and Austria very few teachers are under 30. The youngest teachers in secondary education can be found in Poland and Portugal where a significant number of teachers is between 30 and 39 years old.

The share of female and male teachers also varies by teaching sectors. Women are still over-represented in primary and secondary education; in 2009, in almost all Member States (e.g. Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Spain, France, Cyprus, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, UK, Finland) over 60% of teacher were women. In Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this number rises to 80%. Tertiary education presents a sharp contrast to this picture: fewer than 50% of women were reported for most European countries, the only exceptions being Latvia (57.9%), Lithuania (55.1%) and Finland (50.5%).

The proportion of graduates at higher education level working in the field of education and training has also been falling significantly; some countries are particularly affected, such as Portugal (-6.7%), Hungary (-5.2%) and Belgium (-4.5%).

At the same time, the school-age population itself is also declining, with the sharpest decrease in Austria, Germany and Poland. 

-           Teachers' pay[4]

The salaries of teaching staff account for around 70% of current spending on education (in primary and secondary education: 73%).

There are very diverging situations and trends across Member States; for example, annual gross salaries in lower secondary education in Austria range from €32.115 to €67.581, in France from €26.169 to €47.610, and in Hungary from €5.563 to €11.267.  The highest actual salaries can be found in Luxembourg (€86,745 p.a.), Denmark (€56,336 p.a.) and Austria (€52,308 p.a.) (All salaries are expressed in purchasing power[5]).

As a general tendency, actual teacher salaries in many of the countries with available data are close to the maximum statutory salary. This can be explained in part by the relatively high share of teachers in the older age groups. In the Czech Republic, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Finland and the United Kingdom (England and Wales), the actual teachers' salaries are even higher than statutory maxima, due to the range of additional allowances that teachers may receive. On the other hand, in Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal, actual teacher's salaries are almost in the middle of the statutory scale; this can be partly explained by the relatively long professional experience (between 25 and 34 years) required to obtain the maximum salary scale and, in the case of Luxembourg and Portugal, by the fact that almost 50% of teachers are under 40 years old. However, this is not the case in Italy where most of the teachers are older than 50.

The relation between maximum and minimum annual gross statutory salaries is a pointer to the long-term prospects of teachers in terms of the salary increases they can reasonably expect throughout their careers if only their length of service is taken into account. The maximum statutory salaries expressed in purchasing power (PPS €) are generally two times higher than the minimum salaries for new entrants. Teachers in primary education in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Latvia and Turkey may receive only around 20% salary increase during their professional career. However, in upper secondary education, the maximum statutory salaries in Cyprus, Hungary, Austria, Portugal and Romania are more than double compared with the salary at the beginning of the professional career. This fact, together with the frequency of salary increases, may explain why teaching may be more attractive at some stages of a career than others. Clearly, teachers whose salaries rise significantly throughout their entire career may be less inclined to leave the profession than those whose salaries do not progress beyond the early years of experience. However, this factor must be considered together with the average number of years that are needed to obtain the maximum statutory salary.

In most of the European countries, the average number of years that a teacher must complete to obtain the maximum basic statutory salary is between 15 and 25 years. Nevertheless, in Spain, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Portugal and Romania, it takes 34 years or more to achieve the maximum statutory salary. On the other hand, in Denmark, Estonia and the United Kingdom, a teacher with less than 13 years of professional experience can already be at the maximum salary scale.

Granting allowances to teachers based on positive teaching performance or student results is also unequally spread across Member States with the following countries providing such incentives: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom (England and Wales; Northern Ireland), and Turkey.

By mid-2010, the economic crisis had taken its toll on teachers’ pay, increasing numbers of countries cutting both salaries and allowances such as holiday pay and bonuses. Greece reduced teachers' basic salaries by 30% and stopped paying Christmas and Easter bonuses. Ireland cut salaries for new teachers by 13% in 2011, and those appointed after 31 January this year faced a further 20% drop in pay due to the abolition of qualification allowances. In Spain, salaries of teachers and other public sector employees were cut in 2010 by around 5% and have not been adjusted to inflation since; similar measures have been applied in Portugal.

-           Responsibility for the definition of teachers’ competences[6]:

The levels at which key decisions are taken about the competences required to be employed as a teacher vary. In a few Member States (e.g. Cyprus, Estonia, Slovenia, Germany and UK) the decision is centralised and taken by ministries or other government bodies. In a large number of countries (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden) competence requirements are outlined at national level, but are adapted or further defined at a lower level by teacher education institutions. In few other Member States (e.g. Finland, Czech Republic, Greece, and Malta) the competence requirements are only set by teacher education institutions.

Those countries where the decision is taken at national level tend to have more explicit and detailed descriptions of the competences that teachers are required to possess. In those countries where teacher education institutions have the autonomy to decide, the definitions of competences of teachers tend to be more diverse. 

-           Recruitment and retention of teachers[7]:

There are three broad types of systems for the recruitment of teachers in the EU:

• ‘Open recruitment’- this refers to a decentralised system where recruitment is usually the responsibility of the school or local authorities. This system is used in a vast majority of European countries. Teachers are in most cases directly employed by schools and have contractual status based on general employment legislation.

• Recruitment based on competitive examinations – a minority of countries apply this system (France, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Greece). Many, but not all of these staff, are employed by central or regional education authorities and become career civil servants, a status which guarantees appointment for life.

• Some countries also use ‘candidate lists’ for recruiting teachers: applications for employment are made by submitting candidates’ names and qualifications to the education authority.

The recruitment system does not, however, correspond exactly to the status conferred on the teacher. Today, the status of career civil servant is less widespread than before; in several countries it exists alongside the category of employees with contractual status. In some other countries (Hungary, Slovenia, Finland), teachers are employed by public authorities under legislation which is distinct from contractual teachers without the notion of appointment for life.

Overall, only three Member States offer permanent contracts to a high proportion of new teachers (Malta (88.5%), Lithuania (70.5%), and Estonia (60%)[8]; in others (e.g. Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain), over 80% of the new teachers are offered fixed term contracts, and in many countries (e.g. Finland, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and UK) the retention of teachers appears problematic. As many as 40% of young teaching staff may leave before having completed five years in Belgium, and 20% in the Netherlands.

-           Induction support for new teachers:

Only half of EU countries or regions offer comprehensive, system-wide induction support to teachers after entering the profession. 

However, several countries including Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Netherlands, UK (Scotland) and Norway have started to implement induction support systems.

 -          Professional development of teachers[9]:

While policies aiming to promote professional development exist in most countries, they remain rather limited in nature. Nearly 90% of teaching staff say they have recently taken part in professional development activities, but there is considerable country variation in the type of activity, its impact, the intensity of participation, and the age and proportion of teaching staff participating.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is considered as a professional duty for teachers in 24 European countries or regions.

The most common incentive for participation in CPD is a possibility of promotion. In 17 European education systems, participation in CPD is linked to promotion or a system of advancement to a different occupational grade. Professional development is however rarely the sole condition for advancement but rather a valuable asset. It is also an important dimension when evaluating teachers. Several countries do not offer any incentive to teachers for participating in CPD[10].

Only some Member States (e.g. Belgium, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malta, UK) have compulsory professional development for teachers as part of their school development plans.

The perceived need by teachers for professional development seems to be greater than the actual possibilities they have. Many teaching staff either do not find suitable professional development, or cannot attend because of conflicting work schedules. A considerable proportion of teachers feel that they require more professional development than they currently receive.

The most widespread type of professional development activity takes individual teaching staff out of their schools, to follow a course whose relevance to individual or institutional needs, and therefore its impact, might be limited.

-           Feedback on teachers’ performance[11]

Generally speaking, not enough teachers receive effective and regular feedback on their own teaching performance to support their professional development effectively. Some countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovak Republic) have made efforts in this direction, the absence of feedback is particularly acute for new teachers; many new teachers report never having received feedback (e.g.: 55% in Italy, 45% in Spain, and 25% in Portugal and Ireland).

School leaders -           Administrative burden[12]:

On average, school leaders spend more than 40% of their time on management and administrative activities rather than, for example, developing curriculum and pedagogical activities, teaching, or communication with parents and students. In Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Sweden and Norway, school leaders spend 50% of their time on management and administrative activities. Only school leaders in France and Bulgaria spend less than 40% of their time on such issues.

-           Recruitment, induction and professional development[13]:

In general, the number of applicants for school leadership posts is often very low; significantly this is not the case for positions of middle leaders, assistants or deputy principals. As for teachers the average age of principals in many countries is now over 50. The age profile is particularly alarming in secondary education in most countries. This profession is also characterised by gender imbalance, with most school leaders being male.

In almost all countries, professional teaching experience is the basic condition for appointment. The amount of experience required ranges from three to thirteen years and is generally between three and five years.

At the same time succession plans encouraging staff to progress from teaching to managerial positions are rare across Member States, though there are some positive examples in place: the UK (England) has developed specific ‘fast track’ programme that provide accelerated leadership development to those classroom teachers who have been identified as having the potential to progress rapidly to senior leadership positions.

Continuing professional development (CPD) for School Leaders is considered a professional duty in 22 countries or regions[14]. In the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) for example, the National College for School Leadership provides a range of professional development opportunities for serving school heads.

Some countries define the minimum amount of time to be dedicated to CPD. In the French Community of Belgium for example, school heads have to follow CPD activities during six half days per year. In Latvia, CPD for school management consist of 36 hours in three years.

In Spain, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania participation in CPD activities is not only a professional duty but also a prerequisite for career advancement and salary increases. In Slovenia and Slovakia, CPD is optional but yet necessary to be promoted.

In 15 countries, CPD is optional for school heads. However, school heads might well be supported and encouraged to participate. In the Flemish Community of Belgium, for example, schools have a special training fund for the CPD of school heads allowing them to have the cost of CPD covered throughout their career. In Ireland, the 'Leadership Development for Schools service' offers programmes for recently appointed school heads and for more experienced school heads working together in school teams.

Teacher educators -           The profile of teacher educators:

Many people have responsibilities for educating teachers (university academics in subject departments and in departments of education, teaching practice supervisors, school mentors, induction tutors; those in charge of continuous professional development...). They work in multiple contexts (universities, schools, private sector, trade unions …). 

Policies to support the education of teachers are rarely systematic. It appears that many Member States do not have systematic evidence or monitoring about the profiles of teacher educators. For example, in some countries this group merely includes university lecturers. Member States such as Estonia or Belgium (Flanders) include university teacher educators as well as individuals working in a profession concerning teaching practices (this excludes teachers' professional development). Other Member States (Austria, Ireland, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia) use a wider concept that encompasses academic staff and educators and school teachers concerned with continuous professional development.

-           Teacher educators’ competences

Very few Member States have standards regarding the necessary competences required to be a teacher educator. Teaching practice and basic pedagogical skills are a requirement in Belgium (Flanders), Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, and Slovenia. In most Member States, for example Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, the definition of basic competences is the responsibility of central authorities. In Germany, for instance, national standards demand specific knowledge, thus employment in teacher training colleges (Ausbilder) require intercultural, collaborative, supervising and pedagogical competences.    

2.         Supporting the teaching professions: the time is now Teachers are the key to improving the performance of learners…

The key aim of enabling all people in the European Union to acquire and continuously upgrade the competences they need for life, whilst also fully developing their human potential, puts the spotlight upon the many different ways in which European societies conceive of education and training, and organise themselves to provide it.

Variation in learner achievement is predominantly a product of individual and family background characteristics; Member States therefore need to strengthen their efforts to reinforce equity of opportunity, treatment and outcomes in education systems, and indeed in society as a whole. Within educational institutions, however, teaching professionals are the most important determinants of how learners will perform; and it is what teachers know, do, and care about that matters.

The EU is fortunate that the major proportion of its teaching workforce is made up of highly experienced and committed professionals who devote themselves to helping each and every learner to be the best that they can be. They generally work many hours more than they are required to do. They regularly engage in professional development to extend their competences. However, there is an increasing trend that, as teachers leave the profession, institutions are obliged to fill vacancies with unqualified staff or trainees.

The crisis has had a strong impact on funding[15]…

The salaries of teaching staff account for around 70% of current spending on education (in primary and secondary education: 73%), yet systems of recruitment, education and support for the teaching professions continue to show important weaknesses, which prevent Member States from getting the best return on this investment.

The global economic downturn and declining revenue in many Member States in recent years have aggravated this problem and put greater pressure on education and training budgets, as countries try to balance their public finances. Fiscal constraints have led to cut-backs in public funding for some phases of education, such as adult learning. Some Member States' responses to the economic crisis have had a negative impact on the status of the teaching professions, which risks engendering high costs later.

Provisional data from Eurydice show that the economic crisis is impacting differently on education and training systems in different Member States. In the period 2007 to 2010, for example, while some countries have seen a drop in general government expenditure on education as a share of total public expenditure, many have shown stability, and some have seen a rise. However, in the period 2010 – 2012, budgets for school education decreased in a significant number of countries Belgium (French Community), Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Romania, Croatia, Slovakia, and Turkey. Teachers in Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Slovenia are the worst affected by budget restrictions and austerity measures. Teachers' salaries in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Croatia and Liechtenstein have fallen slightly or stayed the same. In Romania the decrease was 17%, and in Cyprus, Latvia, Slovakia, Croatia the decrease was over 5%. However, in four countries, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Iceland, teachers' salaries have increased since mid-2010, while pay in Romania is now almost back to pre-crisis levels.

In tertiary education, budgets decreased in the same period by as much as 20% in Estonia, and by over 10% in half of countries.

In general in the EU, teachers appear to be losing some of their purchasing power. In 20 education systems, cuts have been made in teaching staff salaries or a salary freeze has been applied.

There are indications that more Member States are employing more teaching staff on temporary and short-term contracts. At the same time, according to a forthcoming joint study by the teacher unions and the education employers, there are existing and/or forecast teacher shortages at all levels of school education across half or more of the twenty European countries they surveyed, particularly in mathematics, sciences, technical subjects, languages and arts. In Greece, Spain and the United Kingdom, respondents observed an increased number of redundancies and unfilled vacancies at the primary level, as a consequence of the impact of the crisis on public budgets and teacher recruitment.

Funding for teachers’ continuing professional development has been reduced in at least six countries (Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, UK (Wales)).

Teaching staff are also affected in other ways. Budgets for construction, maintenance and renovation of educational institutions (ISCED 0-3) have decreased between 2010 and 2012 in several countries (Finland, Spain, Portugal, UK (England), Ireland). Budgets for computer equipment have decreased in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Poland and Iceland. Funds for specific programmes of support (for linguistic, geographical, social or other reasons) have decreased in Belgium (Flemish Community), Czech Republic, Ireland, UK (Wales) and UK (England).

… also brings certain opportunities[16]

Research confirms that, in many Member States, the career choices of teaching staff or teacher candidates are strongly influenced by labour market conditions. When the labour market is depressed, teaching graduates and teaching staff are less likely to take up a job outside education and teaching is considered a “fall-back” profession. Conversely, when the labour market is buoyant, teaching graduates and teaching staff more often move into jobs in sectors outside education. The supply of male teaching staff is more sensitive to the condition of graduate employment and relative wages than the supply of females.

This suggests that the current difficult economic climate could make teaching careers more attractive; there is therefore now an opportunity for Member States to attract better qualified candidates from a wider pool than before, and to select them more rigorously. Furthermore, current conditions are likely to make teaching careers more attractive to men, giving Member States an opportunity to redress the gender imbalance at many levels of the teaching professions. The joint ETUCE/EFEE survey on recruitment and retention gives an indication that this trend is already happening, with an increasing number of candidates for teaching positions in some countries (Spain, Ireland), and more male graduates in shortage subjects.

Against this, and as showed above, it must also be noted that whilst some Member States have chosen to protect teacher salaries during recent rounds of expenditure cuts, others have significantly reduced the salaries (and pensions) of teachers, who were already poorly paid by comparison with other professionals. This will not make it easy to recruit into the profession candidates of the highest possible calibre – the kind of candidates who might otherwise join professions such as medicine or the law.

Demographic trends point to a serious shortage of teachers in Europe[17]….

Demographic ageing is a general long-term trend across Europe. It is particularly acute and immediate in the case of teachers.

Some Member States will shortly have to recruit large numbers of new teaching staff - in all subjects - to fill the gap left by a big wave of teacher retirements. In Sweden, Germany and Italy, for example, around 50% of the teaching workforce is aged 50+.

There is a general shortage of male staff, especially in early childhood education, primary and lower secondary education. Some sectors can expect to see a rising demand for staff; for example, the growing number of adults needing to upgrade skills may lead to increased demand for adult educators and trainers.

Age distribution of teachers in lower and upper secondary school. %. 2010 (Source: Eurostat, UOE; in Eurydice Key Data on Education 2012)

In some sectors, such as early childhood education and care (ECEC), there is a general shortage of qualified staff. Many countries have serious shortages of suitably trained school teaching staff in some subjects, including science, maths, ICT and foreign languages. PISA 2009 found that 20% of 15 years olds were in schools where a lack of qualified mathematics or science teaching staff was hindering instruction.

Percentages of students aged 15 attending schools where teaching is affected by a lack of qualified teachers in the core subjects, 2009. 

(Source: OECD, PISA 2009 in Eurydice Key Data on Education 2012)

…and changes in the ways people teach and learn call for a new set of competences… [18]

There are several other factors which point to the need for Member States to review and reform their policies in support of the teaching professions, as a matter of priority. Not only is the economic crisis forcing spending decisions on education that have long-term consequences for the teaching profession, but also are there rapid developments in ICT and digital media which have huge impact on learning and teaching.

Our evolving understanding of learning and teaching also includes significant developments in neuroscience and a better and deeper knowledge of the many and varied ways in which people learn. The changes in how we understand learning, and the roles of learner and teacher mean that we can no longer afford to build education systems on the outdated notion that the teacher merely ‘transmits’ existing knowledge into the heads of passive learners. But nor does the evidence support a complete reliance on ‘constructivist’ approaches, seeing teachers only as ‘co-creating’ knowledge with their students.

Teaching professionals now face unprecedented challenges; the demands that society places on them are constantly evolving at the same time as our understanding of what makes for effective learning. A key challenge is not so much updating staff subject knowledge, as deepening their understanding of pedagogy and how it connects with the wider world of learning. Changes in the content of what is taught are minimal when compared with the continuous and sustained change in “the nature of pedagogy, the technologies of teaching and learning, new contexts of learning, the social world of the child, the occupational and economic structure …”. Teaching effectiveness requires all teachers to deploy a broad spectrum of classroom teaching skills and to have access to rich teaching repertoires.

This also implies a rethinking of schools and other institutions, so that they become learning environments that "encourage student engagement, ensure that learning is social and collaborative, are relevant and attuned to students’ motivations, are sensitive to individual differences, provide formative feedback, promote connections across activities and subjects both in and out of school, and are demanding of every student without overloading them”.

In settings where attendance is not compulsory, such as adult learning, teaching must be of sufficient quality to attract and retain learners, so as to equip them with the changing competences they need for life. Adult and VET educators play the key role in upskilling the workforce, including over 73 million low-skilled and low-qualified individuals, and in improving the social inclusion of the vulnerable individuals.

These challenges call for a concerted and urgent effort to support the teaching professions…[19]

Policy on the teaching professions has in many Member States been a case of incremental, piecemeal changes. For each of the teaching professions, Member States face common challenges. Beyond this common ground in approach and policy, there are specific systemic challenges in different phases of education; for example, in early childhood education and care, VET and Adult education, staff is much more heterogeneous than in compulsory school education in terms of competences, extent of initial pedagogic education etc.

Learning is not separate from learners’ personal lives, socio-economic situation, or the attitudes, values, traditions, and beliefs held by their community. Making education systems more relevant and effective requires an approach that recognises the interconnecting roles played by many different stakeholders, including parents, wider society and government. On the one hand, therefore, expecting the teaching professions alone to bring about complete system reform is unrealistic; on the other hand, the key expertise in promoting the quality and effectiveness of education systems day-to-day lies with teaching staff.

The current circumstances and the challenges described above amount to a strong incentive for Member States to set in train radical reforms of policies and provision supporting the teaching professions; they offer opportunities to significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of policies and programmes for the teaching workforce. But if the teaching professions are to meet the significant challenges a systemic response is needed with coherent and consistent policies and programmes for their recruitment, selection, initial education, induction, professional development and working conditions.

The time to act is now. This economic, educational, technological and labour-market challenge is also an opportunity for policy-makers to transform teaching across the EU. The purpose of this paper is to outline ways to strengthen support for each of the three main groups of teaching professionals.

…which can draw on co-operation and policy frameworks jointly developed at EU level…[20]

The 2010 Joint Progress Report of the Council and the Commission found that there is a clear trend across the EU towards competence-based teaching and learning, and that the European Framework of Key Competences has contributed considerably to this.

In September 2012, the EU High Level Group of Experts on Literacy recommended that all teachers in primary, secondary and adult education possess a wide range of literacy-specific teaching strategies as part of their initial education and professional development.

In November 2009, Ministers reached a number of clear conclusions on the development of teachers and school leaders: teacher education and professional development needs to be seen as a lifelong task, and be structured and resourced in coherent and coordinated provision; such provision should span high quality initial teacher education, systematic support for beginning teaching staff and continuing professional development; reform needs to be thorough and systemic; and each Member State’s efforts need to be coordinated and consistent.

Over five years of peer learning looking at many examples of teacher policy from around the European Union, the same key findings emerge: education systems need to be based upon trust, clarity of purpose, clear lines of responsibility, mutual respect, and a culture of learning that permeates all levels of the system.

3.         Teachers: attracting and retaining the best

This section focusses on policies to support the effectiveness of teachers: developing a clear understanding of the competences that all staff must possess; defining criteria and procedures to attract and select the best candidates into teaching; improving the status of the professions; assessing the effectiveness of Initial Education; providing personal and professional support (‘induction’) for every new member of the profession, as well as individualised provision for the professional development of teaching staff in schools and other institutions, which should be conceived as collaborative learning organizations.

3.1 New sets of teaching competences

The teaching professions now face rapidly changing demands, which require a new set of competences. Helping all learners to develop the competences they need in a rapidly evolving society, and a global labour market based on ever higher skill levels, requires new sets of competences.

They need specific competences to enable them to work in settings that include learners with different abilities, and from ever more different backgrounds. And, of course, all teaching staff need to possess the Key Competences that all citizens are expected to have, including some that staff themselves may not have acquired during their own education, such as ‘learning to learn’ (see the Staff Working Document on Key Competences accompanying the "Rethinking Education" Communication).

Furthermore, the recent World Summit on Teaching noted that teachers need to help students acquire not only “the skills that are easiest to teach and easiest to test” but more importantly, ways of thinking (creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning); ways of working (communication and collaboration); tools for working (including information and communications technologies); and skills around citizenship, life and career and personal and social responsibility for success in modern democracies”.

When many teaching staff undertook their initial education, knowledge about learning and teaching was less developed, many teaching tools were not available and the role of education and training was more narrowly conceived. For example, the increased availability of educational resources via the worldwide web (Open Educational Resources) means that both teaching staff and learners have, potentially, a much wider range of learning materials at their disposal. Research into the impact of this phenomenon on the quality of learning is not as yet available; however, teaching staff will increasingly need the competences to find, evaluate and deploy learning materials from a wider range of sources, and to help learners acquire these competences. The availability of OER may also change the nature of the teaching-learning activity itself, with self-directed learners able to take more control over their learning.

So teaching staff nowadays also need the competences needed to constantly innovate and adapt; this includes having critical, evidence-based attitudes, enabling them to respond to students’ outcomes, new evidence from inside and outside the classroom, and professional dialogue, in order to adapt their own practices.

Teaching competences are thus complex combinations of knowledge, skills, understanding, values and attitudes, leading to effective action in situation. Since teaching is much more than a task, and involves values or assumptions concerning education, learning and society, the concept of teacher competences is likely to resonate differently in different national contexts.

This range and complexity of competences required for teaching in the 21st century is so great that any one individual is unlikely to have them all, nor to have developed them all to the same high degree. Attention must therefore be focused also on the competences or attributes of an education system or of a teaching team.[21] This, again, highlights two essential facts:

1. effective teaching must be collaborative, collegial; in some Member States, and in many educational institutions, this will require significant changes; and

2. even the best teachers cannot be fully effective if they work in a team or an education system that lacks some of the essential competences.

Defining teachers’ competences[22]

A lack of clarity about what society can reasonably expect from its teaching staff can make it more difficult for Member States to ensure that the same high standards of teaching apply in all schools and other institutions; it can hinder sound decisions about expenditure on staffing including recruitment, selection and human resource development.

This can also have a negative impact on the status and development of the profession. While many professions are built around consensus about general standards, as well as specific practices, in teaching such common ground is too often lacking. In most professions, new knowledge is accommodated by periodically revising practice guidelines – which is not generally the case in teaching. Therefore, Member States increasingly acknowledge the need to define what teaching staff are expected to know, and above all be able to do, with clear and concise statements; these differ from Teacher Education curricula that focus mostly on what student teachers should learn.

• In most Member States, the competences that teaching staff should possess - and be able to demonstrate - in order to carry out their tasks effectively are not defined by Government.

• However, the following countries have defined the competences that teachers require, in greater or lesser detail: Austria, Belgium (Flemish Community), Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. These competences are specifically linked to professional standards in Estonia, Germany and the UK (Scotland).

• In Estonia, the competence expectations for teachers were first described in a set of Teachers’ Professional Standards; these have become the conceptual foundations of teacher education and are used for updating initial teacher education study programmes and organising the induction year as well as teachers’ continuing professional development. Headway is also being made in the recognition of prior learning and professional experience.

• In the Netherlands and UK (Scotland), a long-standing tradition of teacher competence frameworks provides common orientations and a shared discourse between education stakeholders, linking initial and in-service training.

• Both Germany and Sweden have been developing comprehensive policies to promote the continuum of Teacher Education - a common Educational Monitoring Strategy in Germany, and a policy focus on teacher competences in Sweden - which aim at teacher quality as connected to student learning and educational improvement.

• Serving teachers can be motivated to develop higher levels of competence as they gain experience. Belgium (Flemish Community), Croatia, Sweden and the United Kingdom (Scotland) are examples of countries that specify the competences that are appropriate at several different career stages, teaching areas or levels.

Although developing a common understanding of the purpose of education and the roles of teaching staff is challenging, it does not start from zero. Much is already known about the kinds of competence that effective teaching staff require. The following overview, drawing on policy and research, outlines a possible way to describe a core of competences (knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes) required of teaching staff, which will find consensus amongst many education professionals.

Competences required for effective teaching in the 21st century

Knowledge and understanding || Subject matter knowledge

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), implying deep knowledge about content and structure of subject matter: · knowledge of tasks, learning contexts and objectives · knowledge of students' prior knowledge and recurrent, subject-specific learning difficulties · strategic knowledge of instructional methods and curricular materials

Pedagogical knowledge (knowledge of teaching and learning processes)

Curricular knowledge (knowledge of subject curricula – e.g. the planned and guided learning of subject-specific contents)

Educational sciences foundations (intercultural, historical, philosophical, psychological, sociological knowledge)

Contextual, institutional, organizational aspects of educational policies

Issues of inclusion and diversity

Effective use of technologies in learning

Developmental psychology

Group processes and dynamics, learning theories, motivational issues

Evaluation and assessment processes and methods

Skills || Planning, managing and coordinating teaching

Using teaching materials and technologies

Managing students and groups

Monitoring, adapting and assessing teaching/learning objectives and processes

Collecting, analysing, interpreting evidence and data (school learning outcomes, external assessments results) for professional decisions and teaching/learning improvement

Using, developing and creating research knowledge to inform practices

Collaborating with colleagues, parents and social services

Negotiation skills (social and political interactions with multiple educational stakeholders, actors and contexts)

Reflective, metacognitive, interpersonal skills for learning individually and in professional communities

Adapting to educational contexts characterised by multi-level dynamics with cross-influences (from the macro level of government policies to the meso level of school contexts, and the micro level of classroom and student dynamics)

Dispositions: beliefs, attitudes, values, commitment || Epistemological awareness (issues concerning features and historical development of subject area and its status, as related to other subject areas)

Dispositions to change, flexibility, ongoing learning and professional improvement, including study and research

Commitment to promoting the learning of all students

Dispositions to promote students' democratic attitudes and practices, as European citizens (including appreciation of diversity and multiculturality)

Critical attitudes to one's own teaching (examining, discussing, questioning practices)

Dispositions to team-working, collaboration and networking

Sense of self-efficacy

In addition to ‘core’ teaching competences, each group of teaching professionals requires specific competences to teach certain subjects (general or technical skills and knowledge) to a certain age group (e.g. adults) or in specific settings (e.g. in the workplace). Further, sector-specific, examples of work to define the competences required by teaching staff are provided in the studies ‘Competence Requirements in Early Childhood Education and Care (European Commission 2011) and ‘Key competences for adult learning professionals’ (European Commission 2010).

Effective teaching is not, of course, about competences alone. It also draws upon key personal qualities, attitudes and values, which have been described in the following way:

Characteristics of more effective teachers. (Source: EC/OECD ‘Teachers’ Professional Development: Europe in international comparison’ 2010)

Cluster || Characteristic || Description

Professionalism || Commitment || Commitment to do everything possible for each student and enable all students to be successful

Confidence || Belief in one's ability to be effective and to take on challenges

Trustworthiness || Being consistent and fair; keeping one's word

Respect || Belief that all persons matter and deserve respect

Thinking/ reasoning || Analytical thinking || Ability to think logically, break things down, and recognise cause and effect

Conceptual thinking || Ability to see patterns and connections, even when a great deal of detail is present

Expectations || Drive for improvement || Relentless energy for setting and meeting challenging targets, for students and the school

Information-seeking || Drive to find out more and get to the heart of things; intellectual curiosity

Initiative || Drive to act now to anticipate and pre-empt events

Leadership || Flexibility || Ability and willingness to adapt to the needs of a situation and change tactics

Accountability || Drive and ability to set clear expectations and parameters and hold others accountable for performance

Passion for learning || Drive and ability to support students in their learning and to help them become confident and independent learners

Values, competences and attitudes are closely interlinked. Having a certain attitude, belief or aptitude is a start, but putting it into practice demands knowledge and the skills to implement it in messy real-life situations. For example, the European Agency for the Development of Special Needs Education has identified four core values as the basis for the work of all teachers, if education is to be truly inclusive. They are: valuing learner diversity, supporting all learners, working with others and personal professional development.[23]

Putting in place frameworks of teaching staff competences[24]

Education systems will benefit if governments, stakeholders and the teaching professions reach a new understanding about the competences and qualities that teaching staff require, for example through the development of frameworks of professional competences. These need to be embedded throughout education systems - they should be closely linked with student learning objectives and a shared understanding of what counts as effective teaching, as well as providing profession-wide standards and reference points for developing programmes of Initial Teacher Education and continuing professional development. In order to encourage the ongoing development of professional competence, such frameworks could define different levels of competence - for example one level for newly qualified staff, another for experienced teaching staff, and others for staff with specific responsibilities. Moreover, teacher competence frameworks should take into account the specificities of each branch of the teaching professions.

The process of developing teacher competence frameworks is as important as the outcome; it has been described in full in the report of recent peer learning, which reached the following conclusions:

• Defining and developing teacher competence frameworks is complex, but if the process leads to a shared discourse and vision of teacher competences, with the purposeful involvement of main stakeholders, it can strengthen the knowledge base and profession of teaching staff, enhancing quality control and professional development.

• Effective competence frameworks require coherence in development, use and purpose – representing overall consensus on what teaching and education are for – as well as integration in the national continuum of education and Teacher Education.

• Competence frameworks need to be carefully used so that they promote the agency, empowerment and responsibility of teaching staff, rather than their control and disempowerment. The ownership of the process by teaching staff is key; the stronger and deeper the involvement, the higher their commitment to the outcomes.

• Teacher competence descriptors should be based on learning outcomes; they should be linked to culture and context, have sufficient details for their purpose, and employ concrete, clear, consistent and action-oriented language. In order to be effective, the framework should be stable, durable and flexible.

• Such frameworks can have multiple uses: as a tool for self-reflection by student teachers, as a resource in Teacher Education, as a guide to help teachers identify their personal priorities for professional learning, as a starting point for school development activities, and as a guide in recruitment and selection procedures.

So the description of the competences required by teaching staff is, in itself, only useful if it is embedded in a wider systemic strategy to select the right candidates, develop their core competences in Initial Teacher Education, and ensure they further develop them throughout their careers, as discussed in the following sections.

3.2 Recruiting and selecting the best[25]

High-performing systems build up their human resources by attracting, training, and supporting good teaching staff: research suggests that the world’s best-performing education systems recruit all of their teaching staff from the top tier of graduates, with a mutually reinforcing balance between high selectivity and attractive working conditions. But few European countries achieve this.

So a key challenge for the European Union in coming years is not merely filling vacant teaching posts, but finding the best candidates to fill them: research shows that having a good teacher as opposed to a mediocre or poor one makes a big difference. Having a teacher who is only one-standard deviation above the mean average raises the learners’ test score by (at least) 25% of a standard deviation: the same student can systematically achieve significantly higher scores, if given better teacher quality. Furthermore, the assignment of pupils to teaching staff of varying quality may play a part in generating socio-economic attainment gaps.

Furthermore, recruiting and selecting the very best candidates differs for the various areas of education and training.

Recruitment criteria and processes[26]

Currently, it cannot be stated with any confidence that recruitment and selection procedures attract or pick out the best candidates in some Member States. This can sometimes be due to the low number of applicants. In order for greater selectivity to be possible, the pool of high quality candidates has to be large enough – but this is not the case in many Member States.

Where teaching staff have civil servant status, security of employment may be attractive, but can make the teaching workforce less adaptive to rapidly changing needs. Adaptation is also a key issue for teachers, as what it is to be a teacher has been swiftly changing, and is likely to keep on changing over the next few decades. Just as a medicine or law professional who qualified 30 years ago would be unable to work today without significant upgrading of knowledge and skills, rapid changes in society and the economy require revisiting and refining traditional criteria for entry into the teaching profession, whose license to teach can be valid for four or even five decades from recruitment to retirement.

Member States are thus faced with a double challenge – how to enlarge the pool of applicants for Teacher Education, and also tighten the criteria for selecting people for teaching posts.

Effective recruitment systems must be based on a clear profile or framework of competences along with appropriate quality assurance measures. These are essential pre-conditions for re-engineering recruitment systems, so that they attract and select only the best candidates into initial teacher education (ITE). As noted in the preceding chapters Member States should fully explore the potential of the higher availability of suitable candidates caused by the current economic conditions to attract people with the right knowledge, skills, values and attitudes. Finally, Member States need to keep under permanent review their strategies to attract, select and support excellent teaching staff.

Status, making the profession more attractive[27]

The joint ETUCE/EFEE survey on recruitment and retention identifies as the four most important factors for attracting teachers to the profession: salary, employment security, status of the profession, and commitment to education/ contribution to society.

The attractiveness of the teaching profession is a key challenge in many Member States.  Teaching is often seen as a low status profession; in some countries there is a downward spiral - lowered entry standards reduce confidence in the profession, resulting in more prescriptive teaching and less personalised learning experiences. That risks driving the most talented staff out of the profession, increasing the mismatch between teacher demand and supply.

In the fields of VET and adult education in particular, reasons cited for people not being attracted to the profession include low pay, lack of career prospects and precarious work contracts. In addition, few countries recognise adult teaching as a profession. The High Level Group on Literacy recommended raising the professional profile of the adult literacy teacher, by providing tailored initial and continuing pedagogical training, good career prospects and adequate remuneration.

Measures to raise the status of teaching may include better remuneration, though this is not the only (or in many Member States even the main) factor. However, it is true that there is significant variation in the remuneration offered to teaching staff in the European Union.

For example, annual gross salaries in lower secondary education in Austria range from €32.115 to €67.581, in France from €26.169 to €47.610, and in Hungary from €5.563 to €11.267.  The highest actual salaries can be found in Luxembourg (€86,745 p.a.), Denmark (€56,336 p.a.) and Austria (€52,308 p.a.).

As compared to national GDP, minimum basic teacher salaries in primary and general secondary education are less than 50% of national GDP per capita in Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia; at the other end of the scale are salaries in Germany (141% of national GDP), Spain (136%), Portugal (133%) and Turkey (150%). For teachers in secondary education the highest maximum statutory salaries compared with the GDP per capita are in Cyprus (282%), Portugal (271%) and Germany (211%), (however it may take as much as 30 years to obtain such a maximum salary). In contrast, in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia even the maximum statutory salaries at all three levels of school education are still lower than the GDP per capita.

In many Member States starting salaries are low compared with other professions. Furthermore, in most European countries, it takes a teacher on average between 15 and 25 years to obtain the maximum basic statutory salary.

In some Member States the cuts in the salaries and in education budgets overall imposed by current finical difficulties further reduced the status of the profession.

Therefore, other measures to make the profession more attractive could include clearer criteria for progression towards higher remuneration levels, and a wider variety of pathways offering salary progression and promotion within the profession.

But it is not only salaries or allowances that affect perceptions of the profession. Additional policy options include providing attractive possibilities for professional development, including the chance to study for a full range of teaching qualifications, including at MA and PhD levels; this is needed in order to place teaching on a par with other high status professions. 

Boosting the attractiveness of teaching also means transforming the profession from within; if it entails a high level of responsibility and skills and is well rewarded, it can attract highly qualified graduates. Recruiting excellent people into teaching requires a more attractive work environment — where teaching staff are treated like professionals, and have sufficient scope to work autonomously. According to recent reviews of the evidence, developing and retaining a motivated, committed teaching profession requires limiting ‘dissatisfiers’ and increasing ‘satisfiers’. ‘Dissatisfiers’ for teaching staff include: feeling not in control, lack of time for all work required, isolation from colleagues; prescribed curricula, bureaucracy, pressure to meet targets, testing, an overload of new policies and initiatives; lack of parental support, poor student behaviour and stress. The ‘satisfiers’ concern: being valued, trusted and listened to; adequate time for learning, teaching and planning; autonomy, initiative, creativity; contact with pupils, collegiality; scope for innovation and experimentation. In satisfactory work environments, which tend to have fewer layers of management, workers are consulted and they have autonomy, informed by validated expert knowledge, in diagnosing needs and deciding on services.

The recognition of a wider range of tasks and responsibilities for schools and teaching staff also calls for the creation of new roles – such as mentor of beginning and trainee teaching staff, co-coordinator of in-service education, and school project co-coordinator. Greater diversification of teaching careers can benefit the profession; in most countries, promotion and higher responsibilities often take good teaching staff out of the classroom, and diminish job satisfaction. Creating new positions with specific tasks and roles in addition to classroom teaching can increase horizontal career differentiation; a career ladder that recognizes extra responsibilities, where access to each stage is more demanding, entails more responsibilities and a tighter selection, but also a higher status and remuneration.

3.3 More effective initial teacher education[28]

Clear frameworks of teacher competences are vital to ensure that all Initial Teacher Education programmes develop new teaching staff who can deploy a common core of teaching competences, and who have the capacities and motivation to carry on renewing these throughout their careers.

The level of the qualification giving access to the teaching profession is being addressed by many Member States; for school teaching staff, there is a general trend towards requiring a qualification at Masters level, and for ECEC staff there is consensus that the level of initial professional preparation should be at BA level. But what matters most is what competences staff have developed at the end of the course, rather than course length. In half of the countries surveyed by the Unions and Employers, respondents reported a gap between the skills and competences teachers have, and those needed to teach (Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Slovenia). The main gaps were: ICT skills, diversity in the classroom, working with special needs children, addressing conflict or violence.

Initial Teacher Education should provide more than pedagogical competences, subject-matter knowledge and subject didactics. It should also develop students' capacities for reflective practice and on-the-job research; it should prepare them to diagnose student problems swiftly and accurately, and to draw from a wide repertoire of possible solutions those that are appropriate to the diagnosis. Further, ITE should equip educators to create effective learning situations fitting learners’ specific needs, with the awareness that there can be multiple ways to reach the expected learning outcomes. Learner-oriented teaching methods, and the combination of different learning locations and methods, are of key importance; staff should be fully prepared to employ e-learning and Open Learning Resources (OER). A wide range of assessment techniques should be acquired.

Initial teacher education in high-performing countries starts with clear standards that define what teaching staff are expected to know and to be able to do upon graduation from their Initial Teacher Education. This is further coupled with frequent opportunities for extended teaching practice under the supervision of expert teaching staff.

There is a trend towards remodelling Initial Teacher Education for student teaching staff to learn in school settings so that they can get into real classrooms early in the programme, spend more time there and receive stronger support in the process. This can include both extensive course work on how to teach – with an emphasis on using recent practice-based research – and at least a year’s teaching in a school, where student teachers develop innovative practices and undertake research on learning and teaching.

• However, the amount of time devoted to practical training in schools varies widely between countries.

• For example, the number of hours of ‘practical’ school placement in Initial Teacher Education programmes for primary teachers ranges from 40 in Latvia and 60 in Cyprus, to 630 in Italy and 900 in Austria.

• For teachers in lower secondary, the number of hours of ‘practical’ school placement in Initial Teacher Education ranges from 34 in Luxembourg and 40 in Latvia to 540 in Lithuania and 778 in UK.

The ‘practicum’ element of Initial Teacher Education programmes should be carefully planned and implemented; peer learning has identified key factors in successful ITE programmes:

• effective partnerships between Teacher Education Institutions and host schools, with agreed responsibilities, roles and resources;

• careful planning of the practical classroom elements of Initial Teacher Education programmes, involving both Teacher Education Institutions and schools, and including appropriate use of observation, feedback, reflection and collaboration with other colleagues/ student teaching staff;

• mentorship support matching the individual learning needs of all student teaching staff, with adequately selected, educated, supported and remunerated mentors; and

• both formative and summative assessment for student teaching staff.

Policies on Initial Teacher Education should ensure that:

• Teacher Education Institutions receive clear guidance on what new teaching staff should know and be able to do, according to the specific sector for which they are being prepared;

• Teacher Education Institutions are fully accountable for ensuring that teaching staff have these competences;

• student teaching staff develop a wide pedagogical repertoire including co-operative and inquiry-based learning, the effective use of formative assessment and data to guide their practice, and research skills to diagnose and solve classroom problems based on evidence.

3.4 How not to lose new teachers: personal and professional support [29]

All beginning teachers should be active in a systematic programme of personal and professional support (“induction”) covering their first, crucial years of service; the development of effective induction policy measures should involve all key actors (beginning teaching staff, school leaders, staff and mentors in practice schools, teacher educators, trade unions, policy makers and so on).

Induction can help in tackling the teacher retention issue in several countries, where young (and expensively-trained) teaching staff leave the profession after only a few years. As many as 40% may leave before five years in Belgium, and 20% in the Netherlands. Moreover, induction programmes can add value by improving the overall quality of teaching, and supporting the development of teacher professionalism.

Ministers have agreed to introduce systematic support for beginning teaching staff; to date, however, as the table below illustrates, only half of European countries or regions offer comprehensive, system-wide support (induction) to professionals after their entering teaching.

Induction systems for beginning teachers at pre-primary, primary and general (lower and upper) secondary education (ISCED 0, 1, 2 and 3), 2011/12 (Provisional data)  

|| ISCED 0      ISCED 0-1 An induction system     exists     does not exist Source: Eurydice, provisional data.

Induction needs to be embedded in career-long Teacher Education: building on what teaching staff have experienced in initial Teacher Education, and preparing them for a career of continuing development in a reflective profession. This requires effective links between providers at national and local levels, as well as sharing a common language about the competences and qualities of effective teaching staff, and how they can develop over time. Thus, awareness of roles and responsibilities by all actors, as well as clear objectives, are key for a successful induction programme.

Induction is most effective if it is delivered as a coherent programme. It should provide beginning teaching staff with three different kinds of support - personal/ emotional, social and professional – through interlocking systems for mentoring, peer support/learning, expert feedback and self-reflection. A key to successful implementation is ensuring that all actors have the skills and attitudes for an effective induction programme. This requires a supportive environment in the school, where beginning teaching staff represent a significant asset, bringing new ideas and perspectives. Therefore, the beginning teacher should be allocated fewer teaching hours, to allow more time for lesson preparation, induction activities and meetings with mentors, (who also need time off teaching duties to perform their role effectively). Finally, an induction system should be present in all beginning teachers’ schools. There should be a regular review and evaluation of induction policies and provision.

• In its Staff Working Document of 2010, the Commission identified the following countries as exemplifying different aspects of induction programmes for beginning teachers: Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and UK (Scotland).

3.5 Professional development: Helping teachers to keep on learning[30]

Initial Teacher Education, even at Masters level, cannot give teaching staff all the competences they will require throughout their career. The numbers of new teaching staff joining the professions each year are small compared with the workforce as a whole. In the short-to-medium term, improvements in school performance and pupil attainment must come largely from the current teaching force.

As a consequence, in-service professional development is essential, and it must be organised in such a way that it helps teachers improve their practice.

Teaching staff need it to update their knowledge of subject matter periodically, with new developments; they need it to update their skills, encompassing new teaching techniques and educational research. In most sectors of education, in-service education is required to equip staff with vital competences that they did not acquire during Initial Teachers Education, such as the use of formative assessment, the definition of learning outcomes, working effectively in inclusive settings, learner-centred pedagogies, individualised learning, and more effective uses of ICT and open education resources. Teacher surveys regularly highlight the fact that many of them feel ill-equipped to deal with ‘teaching special learning needs students’, ‘student discipline and behaviour’ and ‘ICT teaching skills’.

Professional development can also: support teaching staff in applying curricular changes; enable schools to develop innovations in teaching practice; and help weaker teaching staff become more effective.

• In Slovenia, a national programme for ‘e-Competent teachers’ has been co-financed by the European Social Fund. It has developed competence standards for teachers, for school ICT coordinators and for school leaders, covering a range of competences for planning, performing and evaluating teaching by using ICT and the critical use and evaluation of processes and resources. It provides ‘bottom-up’ teacher CPD, as pioneering subject teachers with experience in ICT provide the training to their colleagues in the same subject. The training combines seminars with e-education and a certification of the e-competences of teachers not only in the use of ICT, but also in the didactic use of ICT tools in their own subjects. In parallel, schools are offered consultancy for implementing a whole school adoption of ICT moving towards e-contents and an e-learning environment. 

In sectors such as adult education and VET, in which many teaching staff have transferred to teaching from other professions, without having received initial teacher education, or in early childhood education and care in which many staff are unqualified, the provision of higher quality and more accessible continuing professional development is vital for moving towards more consistent standards of teaching. Work-based continuing learning is particularly important to enable VET teachers to keep abreast of technological developments in the field.

• Continuing professional development (CPD) is considered as a professional duty for teachers in 24 European countries or regions. In France, Lithuania, Romania and Slovenia, taking part in CPD is a prerequisite for career advancement and salary increases. Ten countries provide teachers with financial allowances for obtaining further CPD qualifications.

In a context of increasing professionalisation and teacher autonomy, all teaching staff need a commitment to reflective practice, research, and systematic engagement in professional learning throughout their careers.

• In half of the countries, the quality or value of the work carried out by teachers may be rewarded by additional payments following its appraisal or based on the results their students obtain in examinations.

• In Germany, economic and career advancement incentives are linked with an external assessment of teachers’ competences.

• In the Netherlands and Sweden, the approach is to encourage and support teachers to upgrade their competences and acquire higher academic qualifications.

• In Sweden, the 'Boost for Teachers' initiative funded approximately a fifth of all teachers to take advanced continuing professional education at higher education institutions in the period 2007-2010.

However, current provision for in-service training is often not as effective as it should be, and for a large proportion of teaching staff the need is felt for more. The 2010 Joint Progress Report of the Council and the Commission found that although curricular change is under way, and in some countries initial teacher education prepares teachers to use the key competences approach, for the majority of teachers already in service there are few systematic opportunities to update their competences accordingly.

This is a serious shortcoming as high-performing schools are characterised by systematic and well supported professional development, which is longer in duration, more active and more collaborative.

Although the OECD TALIS survey reports nearly 90% of teaching staff as recently taking part in professional development activities, there is considerable variation in activity type, intensity of participation, age and proportion of teaching staff participating. Many teaching staff either do not find suitable professional development, or cannot attend because of conflicting work schedules. A considerable proportion of teachers feel that they require more professional development than they currently receive, as the graphic shows.

Percentage of teachers who wanted more development than received in previous 18 months (2007-08). Source: OECD.

The great majority of those participating in continuous professional development report that it had a moderate or high impact; in around half of countries, teaching staff reported significantly higher levels of self-efficacy, usually linked with the mastery of a wider array of classroom methods.

However, as a result of the economic crisis, in many Member States continuing professional development is more often than before organised outside working hours, and budgets devoted to it have been reduced. Some 30-40 % of the organisations represented by the European Trader Unions Committee for Education have noted that economic crisis has had negative effect on the initial education, induction and professional development.[31]

A radical reform of in-service learning provision is thus urgently required, to ensure that serving teaching staff and trainers keep up their professional learning through medium- and long-term collaborative development activities in their educational institutions, or through traineeships in enterprises;[32] further social networking opportunities are offered in initiatives such as the EU’s eTwinning action, with a clear focus on improving learners’ outcomes.

Studying or working abroad can bring significant learning benefits to teachers. Teachers are amongst the most mobile professionals in the Union. However, because of the differences in training and in the organisation of the profession, fully qualified teachers often encounter difficulties in obtaining recognition of their qualifications in a host Member State. Smoother and more transparent recognition procedures can help overcoming shortages and strengthen cultural diversity in the classroom.

European programmes for professional mobility (Comenius grants, and Grundtvig for adult education) have proved to be a strong factor for innovation and collaborative learning among teachers and learners, and will be strengthened in the new EU programme “Erasmus for All” from 2014.

Above all, Member States need to ensure that teacher professional development is integrated into each individual teacher’s career and in school and system changes, with in-service education, feedback, appraisal and remuneration closely aligned. Learning that improves individual competences must be complemented by effective collaboration among teaching staff, to produce better learning both in staff and pupils.

Collaboration – a key factor for efficient professional development programmes

It is the responsibility of each Member State to make sure that every member of the teaching workforce, at every career stage, has all the competences needed for the particular tasks required; coherent systems are needed to ensure that teachers can make the most of their potential, throughout their working lives.

Ministers of Education have already identified their need to develop integrated, career-wide support for the education, induction and career-long professional development of teaching staff, and of their educators and leaders.

However, in many Member States, measures for provision and delivery of professional learning for teaching staff have grown up piecemeal over the years, overlooking research input on the effectiveness of professional development.

In a context of increased pressure on budgets, Member States will wish to make sure that resources allocated to teacher professional development are spent only on those activities that have a proven and positive impact on the quality of teaching and on learner outcomes.

Research shows that effective teacher learning is school-based and collaborative; collaborative forms of continuous professional development – which the OECD TALIS survey found to be less often practiced - have been shown to benefit both the teacher and the learner. For example, a survey undertaken by the former General Teaching Council in England[33] notes that continuous professional development - in which teaching staff learn together - is more effective than individual learning:

• in bringing about positive changes in teaching practice, attitudes or beliefs of staff (in all studies reviewed, against only some evidence of this for individual CPD);

• in bringing improvements in pupils’ learning, behaviour or attitudes (in almost all the studies, while there was only some evidence of this for individual CPD); and

• in bringing positive changes in classroom behaviours and attitudes to professional development of teaching staff (in half of the studies, unlike individual CPD).

Comparison of impact and participation by types of development activity (2007–08). Source: OECD.

Despite these evidence that collaborative CPD is more beneficial for both teachers and students, the TALIS survey found that ‘co-operation’ by teaching staff in all countries mostly means exchanging and coordinating ideas and information, rather than direct professional collaboration such as team teaching.

In order to change educational practices, it is also necessary to break the traditional circle of training and teaching, which represents a major challenge for teacher educators and researchers. Teaching staff are expected to facilitate knowledge construction by learners, and yet the rationale of many teacher training courses still relies on the view of teachers as ‘empty vessels’ to be filled by ‘experts’, in training centres far away from school.

Overcoming the view of teaching as an isolated activity, taking place behind closed doors, represents a key challenge, and highlights the need to ‘deprivatise’ teaching. Much learning can take place by the simple expedient of teaching staff regularly observing and collaborating with their peers, and reflecting critically on the experience.

• There are significant differences among countries, however; professional collaboration is more common in Poland, Slovakia and Turkey, and less so in Belgium (Flanders), Slovenia and Spain.

Providing individualised learning opportunities embedded in the overall school development plans[34]

In a fast-changing world, teaching staff need to update their competences every year. This is not only an issue of investment - it means applying to teaching staff the same principles of individualised learning they are to employ with learners. Member States thus need systematic programmes to regularly assess each teacher’s learning needs, and provide relevant individualised training. There is also significant scope for the teaching professions to play a more active role in matters such as defining professional standards and deontology and promoting research about teaching and learning.

The continuing professional development of teaching staff cannot be seen in isolation from the development of the school as a whole. For example, introducing new approaches to pupil assessment in a school (as described in the companion document ‘Assessment of Key Competences’), will require all teaching staff – and indeed learners - to acquire new competences, depending on their role in the process. Some teachers will need to acquire competences in new assessment methods; others will need to develop their skills in collaborating with colleagues to arrive at coherent approaches across departments; others will need competences in the leadership of innovation and change.

The development of the school and the development of staff must go hand in hand. Thus, systems and provision will be most effective if they:

• relate the content and supply of professional learning opportunities to the particular development needs of each individual teacher (this implies a regular review of the teacher’s learning needs, within the school’s development plan);

• promote systematic and positive support for professional learning within every school;

• ensure teaching staff have full access to the professional learning opportunities that they (and their school) need, and

• ensure that professional learning opportunities are designed as collaborative experiences.

In spite of these findings strongly suggesting that the quality of teachers’ work is influenced as much by the institutional environment where they work as by their formal teacher education, the most widespread professional development model in Europe takes individual teaching staff out of their schools to follow a ‘course'’ whose relevance to individual or institutional needs might be limited.

Appraisal and feedback as key instruments for professional development and satisfaction[35]

It is not enough for education systems to attract and educate good teaching staff; they need to be retained in the profession, and they need to be nurtured. Education systems need to identify, esteem and support those teaching staff who have powerful influences on student learning. In this context, effective appraisal and feedback systems can have a positive impact on what happens in the classroom, by encouraging staff to build upon their strengths.

Meaningful feedback refers to evidence-based information on a teacher’s performance, so as to allow for professional learning that is focused, individually tailored and based upon regular assessments of needs. Teaching staff who receive appraisal and feedback tend to value it highly and find it helpful in their work, reporting positive changes in their teaching practices, especially improving learners’ test scores, pupil discipline, and classroom management. Indeed, public recognition of a teacher’s work is highly related to teacher self-efficacy; the aspects that are emphasised in teacher appraisals send important signals about what is most (and least) valued in teaching – for example, pedagogical knowledge, classroom management or innovative teaching.

However, at a time when the importance of giving regular feedback to all learners is better understood, many teaching staff are not getting appropriate feedback on their work, and in several Member States there is none at all.

More than 13% of teaching staff report that they have never been appraised. Large numbers of teaching staff only receive appraisal and feedback once a year or less. What is more, even when teaching staff were appraised, they often did not receive relevant feedback on their performance. As the Education Employers have noted, many countries are experiencing difficulties in establishing even the criteria for successfully evaluating teacher performance, though some countries have begun to make progress on this issue.

• In Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland over a quarter of teachers said that they had not received feedback on their performance.

• At the other end of the scale, almost all teachers in Bulgaria, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic said they received feedback on their work.

Teachers who received no appraisal or feedback and teachers in schools that had no school evaluation in the previous five years (2007 – 08). Source: OECD.

In order to improve teaching quality, Member States need to ensure that every teacher receives feedback, leading to a specific, individualised professional learning plan for the forthcoming year. School leadership has a key role to play in this.

Provision for teaching staff to acquire and develop their competences

Participation in professional development and mobility is often made difficult by lack of teaching cover or formal recognition of training activities, or by conflicts with other commitments. Member States need to tackle these practical obstacles to staff improvement.

Effective policy support for the lifelong learning of teachers is a key system issue, and must be based on a career-long perspective of competence development; it should:

• stimulate the active engagement of teaching staff in continuous learning (through opportunities, incentives and requirements),

• assess teachers’ competence development throughout their careers, and

• provide relevant, career-long opportunities for teaching staff to acquire and enhance the competences they need.

Measures for the assessment of teaching staff competence ought to be linked and consistent with the competence framework, and encompass the three main career phases: Initial Teacher Education, induction, and continuing professional development. Their formative and summative uses should be clearly linked to tools and techniques, roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, as well as to their prevailing focus on individual, school or system level - on input (e.g. professional development attendance) or outcome (change in teacher competences or learner attainment).

                                                                       * * *

This Chapter has highlighted the need for Member States to reform their policy and provision to provide focused support and thus enable the teaching professions to be ever more effective. As a start, this means developing a clear understanding of the competences that all staff must possess, defining criteria and procedures to attract and select the best candidates into teaching; improving the status of the professions; assessing the effectiveness of Initial Education; providing personal and professional support (‘induction’) for every new member of the profession, as well as, relevant formative feedback on their work leading to individualised, relevant continuing professional development for teaching staff in order to support them in developing their competences throughout their careers.

4.         Strengthening School Leadership[36]

School leadership is second only to teaching among the school-related factors that determine what students learn and how successfully. It is an issue to which policymakers in several Member States need to pay closer attention, if educational institutions and systems are to achieve their maximum potential.

The impact of educational leadership on student attainment is clear; some research shows that leadership accounts for 27% of the variation in student achievement across schools. It has been demonstrated that the quality of leadership helps determine both the motivation of teaching staff and the quality of their teaching. Student achievement on PISA tests was higher when teaching staff were held accountable through the involvement of school leaders and external inspectors in monitoring lessons.

School leadership uses the unique competences of staff, learners and parents to achieve common educational goals. The quality of leadership matters also in determining the ethos of the school, the motivation of teachers, the depth of their continuing professional learning, and the quality of teaching and learning..

Recent peer learning work concluded that leadership should be conceived as a role, and not as a post or a place in a structure. A commonly agreed policy framework for school leadership should be part of each education system.  

The impact of school leaders tends to be stronger where there is a higher degree of school autonomy. However, systems vary significantly in the extent to which school principals can, for example, select the staff they are expected to lead, or adjust the school curriculum to local needs.

4.1 Who are the leaders?

The concept of leadership generally implies ownership and authority as well as responsibility. Leadership may be formal or informal: it is possible to be a school principal, without exercising leadership. It is also possible for other school staff to exercise leadership. Indeed, leadership is one of the key competences for all educators. In some systems, one person may exercise leadership in a group of schools. Other actors are also called upon to exercise educational leadership and to play their part in the development of the education system, e.g. school boards, inspectors and advisors, ministries and professional organisations. There is greatest potential for successful system reform when the various actors involved work and develop together.

For example, in Norway, some schools have a three-person school leader group: one responsible for pedagogy, one for personnel matters and one for finance. In secondary education in France, the school leader is supported by a leadership team that includes one or several deputy principals, an administrative manager and one or more educational counsellors.

The national or regional educational context has a significant influence upon the conception of ‘school’ and the degree to which a school is understood as a community or organisation that needs to be led. Some languages do not even have a term for ‘school leader’.  Such contextual factors, in turn, affect the expectations of Ministries, parents and other key actors, as well as the roles that principals and other staff are able to play. There are thus overlapping concepts and differences in titles (e.g. principal, head teacher, director etc.), responsibilities, and structures.

4.2 Leadership is not administration[37]

Clearly, school leaders exert a key influence on learner achievement, mainly by helping to create a school environment that is favourable to learning: an environment that values responsiveness to student needs over bureaucratic control, that provides psychological safety to learn and a focus on student learning.

• However; research shows that administrative demands take up about 40% of school leaders' time, clearly competing with instructional leadership as their top priority.

• In primary education, in most countries, school heads spend the majority of their time, on average more than 40%, on management and administrative activities such as appointing and managing staff and budgeting.

• In Belgium (French Community), Denmark, Italy, Sweden and Norway the proportion is even higher, with 50% or more of their time spent on management and administrative activities.

Proportion of the time spent in a range of activities by the heads of schools attended by pupils in the fourth year of primary education, 2006. (Source: Eurydice Key Data on Education 2009)

European Ministers of Education have already agreed that there needs to be an explicit redefinition of the roles of school managerial staff, so that they focus their energies and time on improving learning by staff and students; for this they need to be liberated from administrative tasks, which in turn may require more countries to adopt the practice of employing school administrators for routine administrative and budgetary functions.

This should allow school leaders to focus more on teacher monitoring and evaluation. In some Member States, for example, school leaders spend much of their time giving feedback to teaching staff about their work. Developing teacher quality, supporting and guiding new teaching staff should be the core of school leaders' role. This includes co-coordinating the curriculum and teaching programme, monitoring and evaluating teaching practice, giving regular formative feedback, and supporting collaborative work cultures.

School leaders are important in building effective relations between the educational institution and the outside world, including parents, local enterprise, universities, or local authorities. This is particularly important for VET and for leaders in adult education, where collaboration with companies is crucial. Leaders should also be aware of the importance of engaging their education and training institutions into the regional and local development plans and equipped with relevant tools. 

4.3 Focus on the core competences of educational leadership[38]

School leadership is a challenging profession that demands a range of highly developed competences underpinned by core values. National policies will be most effective when they are based upon a shared understanding about the roles that school leaders are expected to play, and the professional values and competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) that school leaders require in order to fulfil these roles effectively.

Educational employers advocate a greater uniformity in the formulation of the standards and competences required of School Leaders, so that appropriate training and professional development can be developed. Recent peer learning suggests that the main competences required by people in leadership roles can be identified. Some are context- and culture-specific; however, in all contexts, policies can support effective school leadership by being based upon the following core leadership competences:

• vision - the ability to inspire staff and pupils;

• strategic thinking - the ability to take a holistic view;

• the ability to enhance learning environments and learning cultures;

• the capacity to improve the quality of students’ learning and their learning outcomes;

• the capacity to manage resources effectively;

• a sound knowledge of the education system;

• strong communication skills and openness, as well as

• problem solving skills.

School leadership staff are also likely to be most effective if they possess personal attributes such as courage, optimism, resilience, tolerance, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, energy, ambition, commitment and a desire for learning.

Effective educational leadership requires a team approach and the different members of any leadership team may have different, complementary expertise and competence profiles; this does not affect the core competences required by school leaders, it rather underlines the need for clarity of roles.

In adult learning, many of the educational institutions are small or based in NGOs or attached to community libraries, etc. Here the leadership role may be combined with teaching or additional tasks, but it is no less important to develop the leadership role in such settings.

4.4 Increasing attractiveness, recruitment and retention[39]

School headship and leadership should be a career path that is chosen and prepared for, rather than a forced or accidental assignment. Putting the right people into leadership roles should clearly be a key objective of education policy in all Member States. Countries need to pay much closer attention to the recruitment and preparation of the right staff for school management positions.

In the EU, education employers have expressed the need for enhanced professional recruitment processes at both school and system level, to ensure that recruitment procedures, tools and criteria are effective, transparent and consistent in assessing candidates.

A number of different criteria are considered when appointing someone as a school head. In all European countries, regulations set out the official requirements expected of those wishing to become school heads. Almost everywhere, professional teaching experience is the basic condition for appointment. The amount of experience required ranges from three to thirteen years and is generally between three and five years. In most countries, additional conditions are applied, which may include administrative experience, leadership and management competencies, the completion of special training courses.

But in general, the number of applicants for school headship posts is very low; significantly, this is not the case for positions of middle leaders, assistant or deputy principals. Teaching staff and middle management staff with high leadership potential are often not interested in moving up to headship. In some Member States, only some 1.25 candidates apply per post on average; in others, large numbers of principal posts have to be re-advertised because no suitable candidate comes forward.

This is the more alarming, as in most OECD countries, the average age of school principals has been rising over the past two decades and a significant majority of principals in many countries are now over 50. The age profile is particularly alarming in secondary education in most countries. As with teaching staff, the imminent retirement of many principals brings both a major loss of experience and an opportunity to recruit and develop a new generation with the competences needed by future education systems. There is also an opportunity to rectify the current gender imbalance: although most teaching staff are women, most School Leaders are men.

Percentage of principals aged 50 and over, 2006/7, public schools. Source: OECD ‘Improving School Leadership’.

Recruitment and retention is thus an urgent problem which needs to be addressed. In many Member States, recruitment problems occur in part because of the growing workload on school leaders. Studies have shown that leaders are affected by the growing demands on their time. For example, in England, 61% of head teaching staff described their work-life balance as poor or very poor. Some school heads have attributed this to long working hours or to deficiencies in working practices, such as not knowing how to prioritize or delegate their work.

In many Member States, school headship is not a desirable option for many possible candidates because:

• they see that it involves predominantly administrative or managerial duties rather than higher-order leadership or pedagogical leadership tasks;

• the posts are not attractively remunerated and often involve a heavy teaching load in addition to administrative tasks;

• they lack experience; and

• they perceive school heads as not receiving the support they require from educational leadership outside the school, even in situations of stress and conflict.

The efforts to free school leaders from some of the administrative tasks (see section above) could have a positive impact upon the status and attractiveness of the profession.

Another vital aspect is adequate succession planning allowing to identify and prepare teaching staff to take up leadership roles.

• Some Member States, including Denmark and Netherlands, have specific strategies for inspiring, identifying and developing future school leaders.

• In the UK (England) a ‘fast track’ programme provides accelerated leadership development to those classroom teachers who have been identified as having the potential to progress rapidly to senior leadership positions. The UK (Scotland) has developed specific development programmes for project-, team-, school- and strategic- leadership. 

4.5 Initial preparation, support and continuous professional development[40]

The changing profile of school leaders and their increased responsibility, including managing financial and human resources, underline the need for them to be effectively prepared and to receive continuous support and on-going professional development matching their individual needs. Proper systems to induct School Leaders into their new roles and support them during the first years are also necessary, but are few and far between at the moment.

The conclusions of peer learning suggest that education systems will be more effective in promoting high quality learning if they prioritise school leaders’ continuous professional development as part of a systematic (and system-wide) process that aligns the development of school leaders with that of the system as a whole. The career-long professional development of school leaders should become both a right and a professional responsibility.

Some research suggests that high-performing and equitable school systems tend to grant greater autonomy to schools in curricula and assessment. Effective use of school autonomy depends on effective leaders, including system leaders, principals, teacher leaders, senior teaching staff and head teaching staff, as well as strong support systems. That, in turn, requires effectively distributed leadership, new types of training and development for school leaders, and appropriate support and incentives.

As greater responsibility is given to, and greater accountability is demanded of, school leaders, leadership needs to be distributed effectively within and across schools. Collaborative leadership, as opposed to leadership of the principal alone, may offer a path to school improvement. Distributed leadership arrangements may vary depending on the context. Leadership structures or more informal ad hoc groups based on expertise and current needs can be formed to encourage a distribution of responsibility among these actors.

• For example, Norway, Netherlands and UK (Scotland) are countries that use distributed leadership arrangements.

There is great diversity in school leadership training in European countries.

Continuing professional development (CPD) is considered a professional duty in 22 countries or regions[41]. In the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) for example, the National College for School Leadership provides a range of professional development opportunities for serving school heads. These include 'Head Start', a programme for recent graduates of the National Professional Qualification for Headship during their first two years as school heads.

Some countries define the minimum amount of time to be dedicated to CPD. In the French Community of Belgium for example, school heads have to follow CPD activities during six half days per year. In Latvia, CPD for school management consist of 36 hours in three years.

As for teachers, in Spain, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania participation in CPD activities is not only a professional duty but also a prerequisite for career advancement and salary increases. In Slovenia and Slovakia, CPD is optional but yet necessary to be promoted.

In 15 countries, CPD is optional for school heads. However, school heads might well be supported and encouraged to participate. In the Flemish Community of Belgium, for example, schools have a special training fund for the CPD of school heads allowing them to have the cost of CPD covered throughout their career. In Ireland, the 'Leadership Development for Schools service' offers programmes for recently appointed school heads and for more experienced school heads working together in school teams. 

• Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Sweden, parts of Germany and the UK have developed very specific systems, programmes or academies aimed at professionalising a new generation of leaders.

These may involve various strategies for developing educational leadership at all levels of the education system, including in Ministries; they have an important role to play and need to be further developed in those Member States where they do not yet exist. Crucially, such leadership must be focussed on improving the quality of learning.

School leaders’ professional development activities should be ongoing, career-staged and seamless. To be effective, school leader continuous professional development should also be:

• linked into the wider provision of CPD;

• organised as a group activity in which school leaders interact with peers;

• relevant to the development needs of the individual school leader and the school;

• founded upon critical reflection of self, practice and organisation; and

• valued and recognised.

In some contexts there is a need to stimulate school leaders who have been in post for some time to further develop their competences; for example, where school leaders are reappointed periodically, a condition of their re-appointment could be proof that they have continued to develop as professionals.

Depending on the national context, there may also be a need to consider the place of stakeholders in the design of the professional development for school leaders, to consider the need for programmes or providers to be accredited, and further developed in their quality assurance.

Leadership staff themselves need to recognize their own need to continue to learn throughout their career, and the availability of high quality self-development programmes is very important.

For instance, the increasingly complex tasks of early childhood education and care institutions require the same level of attention and investment in developing leadership capacities as is the case with schools. A greater degree of networking and mutual learning between school leaders at local, national and European level can bring benefits for school leaders themselves, but also for their schools and the education system as a whole; such collaboration can promote self-reflection, encourage further professional development, facilitate mutual support, disseminate policy and practice, assist the development of the profession of School Leadership, and mitigate some of the effects of between-school competition.

                                                                       * * *

This Chapter has highlighted the key directions to provide support to school leaders: while policies on school leadership cannot be shaped in isolation, since they are closely related to policies on curriculum, assessment, teacher learning and school development, the key steps for the development of effective policies in school leadership should include redefining the roles of principals and senior staff, so that they are able to focus on improving learning by teaching staff and students; reinforcing recruitment and retention of school leaders in particular through  succession planning, to ensure that potential leaders are identified and trained early in their careers; and the development and provision of efficient professional  development paths. 5.         Supporting Teacher educators: teaching the teachers

Teacher educators are crucial for the quality of the teaching workforce, and too often neglected in policy-making. It is they who are present at every stage of the teacher’s life-cycle, teaching and guiding them; it is they who should model and exemplify in their daily teaching what it means to be a professional learner-centred teacher; and it is they who undertake the key research that develops our understanding of teaching and learning.

Peer Learning has provided new insights into the state of play and policy pointers for support to teacher educators. All Member States have scope to make a significant improvement in the quality of teaching, by improving the ways they select and educate those who educate teaching staff. Policy actions should aim at better defining the role and the competences of quality teacher educators to improve their positive impact on teachers’ teaching.

5.1 Towards a coherent and comprehensive policy in support of teacher educators[42]

The 2009 Council Conclusions on the professional development of teachers and school leaders underline that those responsible for educating teachers – and indeed for educating teacher educators – should themselves have attained a high academic standard and possess solid practical experience of teaching, as well as the competences which good teaching requires.

However, in most Member States there is little explicit policy provision either to define what quality means in the work of a teacher educator, or what are academic and professional development requirements. Few Member States have set standards for Teacher Educators or defined the competences required to be allowed to work as a teacher educator. And yet, the coherent definition of the role and competences of quality teacher educators has the potential for huge impact upon the quality of teachers’ teaching, as well as upon developing knowledge, research and innovation on how to achieve the shift to learning outcome-based systems and assess learning appropriately.

The apparently simple job title hides many different realities: Higher Education academics with a responsibility for Teacher Education, research, subject studies or didactics; teaching practice supervisors, school mentors, induction tutors and networks of induction supporters; those in charge of teaching staff’s continuous professional development - all of these play a part in educating teachers.

They work in multiple contexts (universities, schools, private sector, trade unions), often having little contact with those in another - which may lead to inconsistencies in programme content and delivery, thus potentially undermining the effectiveness of teaching and training.

Policy support for those who educate school teachers can be defined as under- or un-developed; in most countries, for those who educate early education and training staff, adult educators and VET trainers it is even lower on the policy agenda.

The first step is to ensure that policy actions cover all those engaged in the task of educating teachers. A recent survey found that in several countries there is no clear understanding of who performs this task: that might mean, for example, no single body with responsibility for professional standards related to the recruitment or selection of teacher educators. The common understanding reached during peer learning activities was that all those who actively facilitate the (formal) learning of teachers, including university academic staff, CPD educators as well as school-based teacher educators should be considered as teacher educators. However, this broad understanding seems to operate in only seven countries (Austria, Ireland, Norway, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia). In others, only university staff teaching pedagogy and didactics are considered as teacher educators (e.g. in Croatia). Initial Teacher Education and CPD can also be seen as quite separate activities in terms of providers, trainers, standards and curricula (e.g. in Poland).

Recent research outlines four identities of teacher educators: as school teachers, teachers in higher education, researchers and teachers of teachers. The divide in perspectives on and by teacher educators is affected by location (within academia or practice) and by responsibilities (university research or teaching). Status issues and tensions between teacher educators with different qualifications, subject specialisations, and training contexts, often arise because of lack of clarity and coordination about different roles in schools and universities.

From a policy perspective, it is unlikely, in any one country, that all those involved in educating teaching staff can be considered (by themselves and others) as a single, homogenous professional body. Fragmentation is reflected by the features of teacher educators’ work, as discussed in the European Commission’s peer learning conference on the Teacher Education profession (Education2: Policy Support for Teacher Educators, Brussels, 26-28 March 2012).[43]

For instance, Teacher Educators in schools may have little contact with those in universities (or other Teacher Education Institutions), while university teaching staff in subject departments often have limited professional dialogue with their colleagues in faculties or departments of education. This has serious implications for the development and sharing of knowledge, the relevance and accuracy of what is taught, and the coherence of support student teachers receive for competence development.

Likewise, teacher educators in the Faculty of Education of a university (or another Higher Education Institution) may see their roles differently from those in other Faculties. Finally, the recruitment, selection, education and professional development of different groups of Teacher Educators may be the responsibility of different actors (e.g. universities, schools, government departments).

Available evidence and peer learning seems to suggest therefore that teacher educators, face several interlinked challenges, which significantly impact upon their ability to provide the highest possible quality of education for the teaching workforce:

• lack of consensus on minimum competence or qualification requirements, linked with quality control and selection into the profession;

• absent or limited support and regulations about initial training, induction and CPD for teacher educators;

• lack of systemic and effective collaboration between different stakeholders, institutions and teacher educators;

• no overview of specific professional characteristics of teacher educators by Member State authorities;

• weak conceptualisations, identities and status; 

• limited or no formal recognition, regulations or standards concerning teacher educators’ professionalism, and

• heterogeneity of profiles, qualifications, experiences, settings, identities and institutional constraints.

The following systemic variables, which affect teacher educator policies and practices, entail major issues that Member States need to address:

• degrees of control and support at the state, regional and local levels for policies on teacher educators (including availability of budget);

• institutional responsibilities and roles for quality in teacher education;

• types and dimensions of institutional contexts and settings;

• degrees of definition of teacher educators’ profiles, requirements and career paths (i.e. in Higher Education Institutions, schools, CPD), and

• school teaching levels and subject areas.

5.2 Competences of teacher educators: much more than teachers[44]

The issue of teacher educators’ professional competences is of paramount importance: if teachers are the most important in-school factor influencing the quality of students’ learning, the competences of those who educate and support teachers must be of the highest order.

However, the teaching of teacher educators cannot be equated with classroom teaching. They are required to deploy specific, additional competences, which set them apart from other teaching staff or academics. In fact, their competences have to do not only with first-order knowledge – about schooling, as related to specific subject areas – but also second-order knowledge – about teacher education itself, teachers as adult learners and related pedagogies, as well as organizational knowledge of their own and their student teachers’ workplaces.

According to recent peer learning conclusions, the following competences are required of teacher educators, mirroring those required of teachers as well as of learners (i.e. key competences for lifelong learning):

• first order teacher competences (competence in teaching learners);

• second order teacher competences (competence in teaching about teaching);

• knowledge development (research competences);

• system competences (i.e. managing the complexity of teacher education activities, roles and relationships);

• transversal competences – crossing and re-crossing boundaries of different professional learning contexts, in schools and universities, within the distinctiveness of teacher education partnerships;

• leadership competences – inspiring teachers and colleagues;

• more widely, competences in collaborating and making connections with other areas.

Second order teaching competences represent distinctive features of the profession - reflecting, researching, communicating, modelling and teaching about the act of teaching. The areas of expertise or knowledge required of teacher educators, according to recent peer learning include:

• pedagogy of educating teaching staff;

• educational studies, school-based education;

• (practice-based) research, linked with the daily realities of teachers and teacher educators in their working contexts;

• general didactics;

• the discipline;

• the discipline as school subject;

• the discipline didactics; and

• new skills (e.g. digital competences).

5.3 Selecting teacher educators[45]

This being the case, it is clear that careful attention must be paid to the ways in which people are selected to exercise the role of teacher educators. However, according to the recent survey discussed in the peer learning conference, in most countries specific qualification requirements for teacher educators are either lacking, or are under development or debate.

Furthermore, most countries have no professional standards or models of competences for teacher educators (beyond the academic competences required of all Higher Education staff). However, exceptions include:

• The Netherlands which has developed a set of teacher educator standards, with different levels of competence. There is a professional register of teacher educators. Joint work by the professional association VELON and a university is developing a specific knowledge base that describes the key elements of being a teacher educator.

• In Belgium (Flemish Community) a developmental profile for teacher educators in Teacher Education institutions has been developed by one of the country’s teacher education networks, in consultation with other networks, and is being disseminated by the Flemish Association of Teacher Educators (VELOV).

The issues of quality and selection of teacher educators are important for all Member States who wish to improve the quality of teaching, particularly for those undergoing education reforms. Efforts to define the competences of teaching staff inevitably lead to a focus on the competences of teacher educators. However, teacher educators’ roles are still often under-valued and their quality poorly regulated, partly owing to fragmented and heterogeneous responsibilities for their recruitment and selection.

Where professional standards are present, national requirements about minimum qualifications and experience may not be in place - hence a notable freedom of decision that may be left to those in charge of teacher educator recruitment. There is an emerging agreement that teacher educators should achieve a higher qualification level than those they teach (at least a Master, or in other cases a PhD).

Competences are likely to differ with different responsibilities, and requirements should be clearly set out at the recruitment stage, considering the teacher educator as a member of a team. Useful approaches for effective teacher educator selection and recruitment can consider complementarity of staff within areas, strengthening partnerships, and identifying the required team competences, including a mix of different profiles (e.g. subject specialists, pedagogues, mentors).

The recognition and competences of school-based teacher educators/ mentors require attention, especially where reforms impact their status or working conditions. In particular, the induction mentor is of key importance, given the crucial professional stage of the mentee, as well as the time and commitment required of the mentor’s role. Those in charge of induction for beginning teachers and those responsible for in-service CPD, however, may be appointed by different institutions (school or university), with a differentiation of expected competences. The development of standards for school mentors’ recruitment could help reinforce this important role.

• In Hungary, for example, formal university education programmes for Teacher Educators (mentors) are being introduced.

5.4 Professional development - helping Teacher Educators to keep on learning[46]

‘In order to meet the demands placed on the profession, all teacher educators – including mentors at schools – should be given the opportunity to undertake proper lifelong learning of their own.’

There is the need for official initial training, systematic induction, and formal regulations in relation to professional development, which is generally dependent on institutional policies; formal training and development for school mentors ought to be compulsory. Currently, however, Member States rely mostly on self-directed initiatives.

The professional development of teacher educators is generally viewed as the responsibility of employers – whether of academic institutions or school organisations - which are of very different kinds, with diverse visions and practices. Recurring problems include insufficient funding, lack of incentives, few research opportunities in professional development, and little coordination between institutions.

In some contexts there is a need to establish a new way of working with stakeholders, in order to overcome the divide between higher education and teaching staff.

• In Estonia, for example, a programme funded by the ESF supports the professional development of teacher educators by organising professional development courses and exchange placements in different teacher education contexts (e.g. schools, Higher Education Institutions).

• In Norway, a national graduate school, NAFOL, offers teacher educators the opportunity to work towards higher academic qualifications (PhD) while doing work-relevant research, thus raising the quality of research-based teacher education. The PRAKUT programme aims develop research expertise and knowledge base in Teacher Education and to improve the application of research-based knowledge in the field of school practice, linking it with teacher education.

The role of Teacher Educators’ professional associations, where they exist, is key in taking forward CPD initiatives, networking and cooperation. Relevant activities may include, for example, courses, professional platforms, conferences, meetings, research coordination, journal publications.

• Active professional associations for teacher educators exist in, for example, Belgium (Flemish Community), Hungary and the Netherlands.

• The role of the Netherlands professional association, VELON, is key in strengthening self-awareness, professional identity and tools for professional development. It is a recognized stakeholder within debates on teacher education, receives financial support for relevant projects, and is in charge of the process of development and revision of professional standards.

Reforms promoting systematic quality enhancement, restructuring and cooperation between different kinds of teacher education institutions offer potential for boosting the quality of Teacher Educators and their professional development. In the future generation of EU education and training programmes, there is scope for supporting continuing professional development through in-service training and mobility opportunities.

Teaching staff must help young people acquire the competences for a rapidly changing world; likewise, school curricula and organisational approaches to education need to adapt to evolving social and economic needs. So do teacher educators, who are responsible for developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes of teaching staff; they must be ready for constant updating in their own professional body of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Lifelong learning is as important for teacher educators as it is for teaching staff or all learners, and provision should be structured as a coherent continuum.

The professional quality of teacher educators is often subject to criticism. Teacher educators working in different settings (school, university, CPD) do not always share the same pedagogical views; some are perceived as too far removed from the reality of teaching, while others need to obtain specific knowledge and skills – for instance, about special needs education and ICT applied to teaching.

All teacher educators, whatever their career entry stage or profile, need to take part in a suitable programme of induction into the task of educating teachers, as well as into their new employer institution. Thereafter, they need access to high-quality CPD opportunities, throughout their careers - course-based or tailor-made, formal or non-formal, individual or collective – available within an adequate supply of suitable educational and professional development. The needs of different kinds of teacher educators might require specific courses leading to relevant qualifications – e.g. Professional or Educational Doctorates.

5.5 Supporting collaboration for better education of teachers

The key stakeholders who have been identified in recent peer learning - government and education authorities; employers of teacher educators in universities and schools; teacher educators themselves; those that benefit from their work, i.e. school leaders and teachers; professional associations and unions - need to be involved in decisions about the teacher educators. What is important is that these stakeholders should achieve consensus on a shared vision with a common understanding of the importance of the quality of educating teachers and in consequence on the actions needed to support teacher educators.

The peer learning suggests a number of systemic conditions that would enhance the effectiveness of the work of teacher educators:

• Creating, where appropriate,  the necessary regulations/legislative framework in which the teacher educators can be most effective;

• safeguarding the coherence of actions increasing the quality of teacher educators;

• providing a framework of professional characteristics defining teacher educators

• setting quality criteria for the (initial and continuing) education and development of teacher educators;

• setting competence criteria for the selection of teacher educators;

• regularly assessing the quality of teacher educators, and

• providing adequate Initial Education, induction and CPD opportunities for teacher educators.

Whilst the mechanisms and the stakeholders involved may vary according to national contexts, some of these key conditions are still not present in many cases – often because of unclear or divided responsibilities or insufficient organisation of teacher educators to present co-ordinated opinions or views. 

5.6. Reinforcing the knowledge base on teacher education[47]

Teacher educators should be involved both in theory and in practice, in dialogue between teaching and research, and maintain a good balance of all these aspects. More and better knowledge on teacher educators’ learning is needed, in order to ensure that induction or CPD activities have the greatest impact on their quality.

There is a growing need for research related to pedagogy, teaching and teacher education. Although relevant international literature output has increased in the last five years, the amount of research on teacher education policies and teacher educators is limited: “…there is still little empirical research which focuses directly on the professional learning of this unique group. Policy documents about teacher education rarely include a strong focus on their professional development”.

The question concerning the domains of teacher educator knowledge, and thus the kind of teacher educators needed to scaffold and support teachers’ knowledge construction, is not straightforward, for a social activity like teaching or training; many diverse teacher education paradigms and perspectives can (co)exist in different cultural contexts.

Particular types of scholarship and research are related to the profession’s dual nature, as linked with multiple professional learning contexts (i.e. universities and schools) and the development of teacher competences. For instance, the development of practical theorizing skills with students and teachers needs particular support. Also the specificities of workplace learning, as well as the role of experiential learning, can require a deeper understanding, useful to enhance both quality and professional development of teacher educators.

* * *

This Chapter has aimed to bring together available knowledge on the situation of teacher educators suggesting that there is large scope to improve the general quality of teaching by targeting those who educate teachers.  Policy actions should start by clarifying  who can and should perform these tasks. Further steps should include defining their competences including explicit and competence-based entry criteria and improving the ways they are selected and educated. In each education system, there should be a place for professional development opportunities, conceived specifically to meet the needs of teacher educators. Effective professional collaboration between teacher educators working in different settings (HE discipline departments, HE education departments, schools, local authorities, private sector) needs to also be actively promoted by education authorities.

6. Ten key actions to support the teaching professions

A more effective and efficient use of public funds must include coherent and comprehensive systems for the recruitment, selection, education, induction and career-long individualised professional development of the teaching professions.

This section suggests ten key policy pointers for action, based on the main findings of this Staff Working Document. The policy rationale, evidence and examples of good practices are provided in the corresponding chapters of this Document.

The diversity in country situations highlight the need to tailor these policy pointers in accordance with national and sub-national circumstances: Member States are best placed to target their education policies and investments, including the Structural Funds and other EU programmes, to address the systemic challenges facing their teaching professions:

6.1       At Member State level Five key actions to support teachers and trainers:

Since teaching staff are the most important in-school factor affecting student outcomes, targeting them is likely to bring the biggest returns in terms of efficiency of education systems. In order to attract, educate and retrain high-quality teaching staff, it is essential to focus on coherent and coordinated provision, including high quality initial teacher education, systemic support for beginning teaching staff, and individualised career-long professional development:

• Define the competences and qualities required of teachers. Teaching competences are complex combinations of knowledge, skills, understanding, values and attitudes, leading to effective action in situation, and thus is likely to resonate differently in different national contexts. However, the starting point for teacher education and professional development should always be a shared understanding of the competences and qualities that teaching staff require to start, and progress, within the profession. Evidence points to the need to develop frameworks or profiles of professional competences based on teachers’ learning outcomes. In spite of national differences, a basic overview outlining possible ways to describe the core fields of competence of teaching staff can already be established and is provided in this Document (see section 3.) Those countries which are starting to develop such a definition of competences are invited to draw on this example.

Countries where competence descriptions already exist should focus on refining them and defining the different levels of competences required at different stages in a teacher’s career, or in different teaching areas or levels.

Countries where progression through the salary scale is based upon inputs (e.g. number of hours of training attended) will wish to establish transparent criteria based upon outcomes (e.g. additional competences acquired or developed) for successfully evaluating staff performance in each of the teaching professions, and setting standards and reference points. 

The framework of professional competences must be used as the basis for other policies throughout the whole education system, across all its levels and branches, and constantly up-dated to reflect latest pedagogical, societal and technological developments. For this reason it requires intensive co-operation within broad partnerships involving government, regional authorities with education-related competences, and representatives of the teaching professions and other stakeholders.

Establishing competence frameworks does not necessary require significant financial investment. Furthermore, their multiple uses - as a resource in teacher education, a guide to help teachers identify their personal priorities for professional learning and development, a starting point for school development activities, and a guide in recruitment and selection procedures - can bring significant gains from more efficient investment.

• Re-design recruitment systems to select the best into teaching. The policy response will need to differ significantly across Member States to address specific vulnerabilities. In countries with significant teacher shortages, policies will need to address the attractiveness of the profession, strengthen teacher education programmes and review incentives for students/ graduates to enter the profession. The challenge to recruit new staff is not merely to fill vacant posts, but to find best candidates. The crisis creates some opportunities in this regard; some Member States have already begun putting in place programmes and incentives to recruit the best graduates into teaching.

Countries with a decreasing school-age population will need to ensure that the number of graduates leaving teacher education programmes matches demand and thus does not result in high individual and social costs.

Along with the appropriate quality assurance measures, a competence framework should be the basis for re-engineering recruitment systems. The issue of gender balance in different education levels and sectors should be addressed through specific measures and incentives.

Countries, especially those in which teaching staff have civil servant status, need to find the right balance between offering teachers job security and ensuring workforce flexibility. Countries which offer predominately fixed-term contracts need to focus on reinforcing its security and on increasing the general attractiveness of the profession through clear progression paths based on transparent criteria.

All countries should put in place mechanisms to allow for high quality candidates to enter the profession in mid-career, to bring in specific skills and expertise, and help the teaching workforce adapt to rapidly changing needs.

Salaries – both entry-level salaries and the time taken to reach the top of the scale - are an important influence on the overall attractiveness of the profession in many countries. However, investing solely in raising teacher salaries is not necessarily the most efficient way to improve student attainment          

• Ensure systematic induction support for new teachers. All beginning teaching staff should take part in a systematic programme of personal and professional support (‘induction’) in their first years. This need not necessarily entail significant extra costs; some Member States already have some elements of such a system (e.g. mentoring) in place. Investment must be also judged in relation to the returns: induction support and systematic guidance for beginning teachers has critical implications for their subsequent professional commitment; it has the potential to tackle skills deficits in teaching; to improve school and teacher performance; to make teaching more attractive, and, crucially, to prevent new and expensively-trained teachers from leaving the profession early.

To be effective, induction support must be delivered as a coherent programme. It should provide beginning teaching staff with personal/ emotional, social and professional support – through for example mentoring, peer support/learning, expert feedback and self-reflection.

Countries that already have some form of induction programme should seek to fill any gaps to ensure, for example, that it offers effective professional and personal support to all beginning teachers and at all levels of education (pre-primary, primary and general secondary education).

In countries without systematic induction, the design and implementation of an induction programme should be based upon a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of all the stakeholders involved, harnessing the commitment of school leaders and well-trained mentors to create supportive environments and collaborative learning cultures in schools.

The development of effective induction policy measures should involve all key actors (beginning teaching staff, school leaders, staff and mentors in practice schools, teacher educators, trade unions, policy makers and so on).

A regular review and evaluation of induction policies and provision is necessary to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of beginning teachers.

Finally, national induction programmes should be seen as the first part of career-long system of continuous professional development. 

• Review in-service learning provision, to ensure that teachers take part in career-long collaborative professional learning.  

Especially in the current circumstances of limited budgetary possibilities, countries should review and adapt their offer of in-service learning opportunities to maximise its impact upon learner attainment, and its relevance to teachers’ individual needs for professional development. Teacher learning should be part of the overall school development plan and be seen as an integral part of teacher’s regular professional activities. Passive off-site learning should be replaced by collaborative professional development activities which focus on improving pupil learning. The use of virtual mobility (such as the EU’s eTwinning action and the upcoming EPALE (European Platform for Adult Learning in Europe) and of open education resources should be explored, especially in circumstances of severely limited budgets.

More favourable financial conditions should allow Member States to further promote in-service learning by introducing a compulsory element for professional development in school development plans, and by providing greater incentives for participation through salary or allowance increases.

• Base teacher development on regular feedback on their performance.

Meaningful feedback on teachers’ performance is a fundamental aspect of effective professional development systems and is cost-effective in improving the quality of teaching; but in several Member States, teachers receive only limited feedback on their performance; these countries should focus on putting in place a regular review of teachers’ learning needs within the context of the schools' development plan.

Feedback, based upon monitoring of teachers' and learners’ progress during the year, should provide guidance and support to help teachers build on their strengths and overcome any weaknesses. It should be supported by appropriate professional development activities.

Feedback should be set within an evaluation system that establishes a framework of standards defining what knowledge, skills, behaviour, attitudes and results are required of a competent teacher.

Three key actions to strengthen school leadership

Educational leadership determines the overall ethos of educational institutions, the motivation of staff, the depth of their continuing professional learning, and the quality of teaching and learning:

• Allow school leaders to focus on improving learning, not on administration. School leaders exert a key influence on learner achievement. But in most countries, leaders’ administrative activities have taken over an increasing share of their activities, significantly undermining the attractiveness of the profession. This calls for a number of actions: explicit definition of the roles of education leaders; developing administrative support mechanisms; and re-evaluating the administrative burden put on education and training institutions.

Redefinition of the roles of school leaders should result in strengthened responsibility for ensuring quality learning and teaching; better communication with students and parents and stronger links with key partners including business and regional/ local authorities; these roles should be supported with professional development measures.

• Reinforce recruitment and retention of school leaders. Recruitment and retention of the right staff for leadership positions is a challenge for many Member States.

As with teaching staff, the imminent retirement of many school heads, and the impact of the crisis, bring both a major loss of experience and an opportunity to recruit a greater number of more suitable candidates. All countries, but in particular those facing significant renewal of staff, should invest in greater collaborative work between all education stakeholders which can significantly help to find relevant solutions within budgetary possibilities. Several measures, which do not always require significant financial resources, can help Member States render the recruitment and retention policies more effective: reaching a common understanding about the role school leaders are expected to play and the professional values and competences they should possess; establishing transparent and consistent criteria for assessing candidates; and putting in place mechanisms to identify potential leaders and train them early in their careers. These measures can also help to address the gender imbalance.

• Develop efficient professional development paths for school leadership. School leadership requires constant adaptation to changing responsibilities (including managing financial and human resources) and high professional values and competences. 

Programmes for educational leadership can significantly increase the attractiveness of the profession. They should: include an induction period with strengthened support during the first years of the leadership career; lead to the acquisition of specified leadership competences; respond to the specific development needs of each participant; and be based on active learning through a variety of teaching and learning methods (e.g. self-reflection, coaching, peer learning communities and networks, research). The monitoring and evaluation of staff as well as team building and collaboration with external partners should be important features of these professional learning programmes; outreach and co-operation with the world of business is particularly important for school-leaders in VET and adult education. The experience of several Member States can offer examples of good practice in the development of effective leadership at all levels of education and training systems.

Two key actions to support teacher educators:

The selection and professional development of those who educate teachers is a prerequisite for raising the quality of teaching and improving learning outcomes. Teacher educators guide teaching staff at all stages in their careers, model good practice, and undertake the key research that develops our understanding of teaching and learning:

• Develop an explicit profile of the competences required by teacher educators. Reforms that enhance the quality of teacher educators can make a significant improvement to the general quality of teaching and therefore raise pupil attainment. Countries which have not already done so need to define explicitly what competences are required by any professional involved in the initial or continuous education of teachers, in whichever institutional setting they may work. The competences should encompass both first order and second order competences: the former includes basic teaching competences; the latter includes teaching about teaching, research competences, pedagogy and, didactics. The knowledge base about the education of teaching professionals and teacher educators is also insufficient and should be developed through research and analysis. Member States should specify competence-based criteria for entry into the profession, and offer specific professional development opportunities.

• Reinforce collaboration between all the key actors in all phases of teacher education. Effective professional collaboration between teacher educators working in different settings (Higher Education subject departments and departments of Education, Pedagogy or Didactics, schools, training or adult education centres, local authorities, private sector) is vital for the relevance and accuracy of what is taught and therefore must be reinforced. To this end, the opinions of teacher educators should be heard and taken into account: education policies should thus support, as appropriate, the development of groupings and networks, to ensure that the teacher educators are fully represented in social and professional dialogues.

6.2  At European Commission level

The Commission can contribute to the efforts of Member States and other stakeholders in the ten key areas for action described above, by: 

• Providing more detailed policy advice, based on a strengthened knowledge base. In order to facilitate exchange between policy makers, practitioners, researchers and other stakeholders, the Commission will strengthen peer learning and expert collaboration across the priority fields identified in this Document, with the necessary differentiation to address country-specific requirements;

• Focusing the EU education and training programme 2014-2020 on actions with potential systemic impact and multiplier effects on the teaching professions, e.g. through strategic partnerships bringing together key stakeholders for innovative solutions; through targeted mobility of teachers and teaching professionals to learn from their peers’ and also outside the school environment. The Erasmus for All Sector Skills Alliances and Knowledge Alliances, as well as the new Marie Skłodowska Curie programme, will provide the impetus for partnerships between education, business and research which can help support the teaching professions;

• Supporting a School Leadership Policy Network to facilitate exchange between national policy makers, practitioners, researchers and other stakeholders, to mediate and disseminate the fruits of research and to stimulate the development of national networks for school leadership;

• Exploit the work of the High Level Group on Modernising Higher Education, which in its first year will focus on excellence in teaching, looking at existing policy and institutional practices prior to making recommendations in 2013 to support policy reforms and innovations to promote excellence in teaching all over Europe.

• Extending European virtual communication and cooperation between schools professionals. Extend the eTwinning action to cover teachers, teacher educators and student teaching staff, as well as provide a web environment for exchange between policy makers and a channel of communication with the school community.

• Supporting networking, team building and professional exchange and development among adult educators: through a new electronic platform - EPALE, European Platform for Adult Learning in Europe.

[1]               Reference is, however, made to ongoing work on the quality of teaching in Higher Education.

[2]               Eurydice, ‘Teachers and School Heads Salaries and Allowances in Europe, 2011/12’.

[3]               Eurydice / Eurostat 2012, ‘Key Data on Education in Europe 2012’.European Commission, EACEA. OECD (2010) Education at Glance 2012, ‘What share of public spending goes to education?’

[4]               Eurydice, ‘Teachers and School Heads Salaries and Allowances in Europe, 2011/12’.

[5]               Purchasing Power Standard (PPS) is the artificial common reference currency unit used to express the volume of economic aggregates for the purpose of spatial comparisons in such a way that price level differences between countries are eliminated.

[6]               The data referred to in this section come from: Finnish Institute for Education Research 2009, ‘3 studies to support School Policy Development, Lot 2: Teacher Education Curricula in the EU’, Final Report.

[7]               Eurydice: Key Data on Teachers and School Leaders, forthcoming, provisional data.

[8]               ibidem.

[9]               Sources: European Commission/OECD: ‘Teachers’ professional development, Europe in international Comparison’; Eurydice / Eurostat 2012, ‘Key Data on Education in Europe 2012’

[10]             Eurydice: forthcoming - provisional data.

[11]             OECD ‘Creating Effective Teaching and Learning Environments. First Results from TALIS’. 2009.

[12]             Eurydice Key Data on Education in Europe 2009. Brussels: EACEA.

[13]             Sources: OECD (2008) ‘Improving school leadership Volume 1’.

[14]             Eurydice: provisional data

[15]        Sources: Eurydice: forthcoming - provisional data; ETUCE / EFEE, ‘Recruitment and Retention in the Education Sector’, forthcoming.

[16]             European Commission, ‘Mobility of Teachers and Trainers. Final Report’, London: GHK, 2006.

[17]             Eurydice ‘Key Data on Education in Europe 2012’. European Commission, EACEA.

[18]             Sources: MacBeath, J. ‘Future of Teaching Profession’. Cambridge University / Education International Research Institute 2012. European Commission / OECD: (2010) ‘Teacher Professional Development: Europe in international comparison’.

[19]             Sources: Schleicher A. (Ed.)(2012) ‘Preparing Teaching staff and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century: Lessons from around the World’, OECD. European Commission (2012) Conclusions of the Peer Learning Conference 'Education²: Policy support for Teacher Educators', Brussels, March 2012

[20]             Sources: European Commission. Communication ‘Key Competences for a changing world’. COM (2009) 640 final. Conclusions of the Council November 2009 on the professional development of teaching staff and school leaders (OJ 2009/C 302/04). 

[21]             European Commission, ‘Competence Requirements in Early Childhood Education and Care. Final Report’. University of East London and University of Ghent, September 2011.

[22]             Sources: Levin, B. ‘Governments and education reform: some lessons from the last 50 years’. Journal of Education Policy, 25 (6) 2010. Finnish Institute for Education Research 2009, ‘3 studies to support School Policy Development, Lot 2: Teacher Education Curricula in the EU’, Final Report. European Commission, Thematic Working Group ‘Teacher Professional Development’: survey.

[23]             EADSNE (2011). ‘Teacher Education for Inclusion Across Europe – Challenges and Opportunities’..

[24]             Sources: European Commission Report of a Peer Learning Activity: ‘Policy approaches to defining and describing teacher competences’. OECD (2005) ‘Teachers Matter’. EADSNE (2011) op cit.

[25]             Sources: OECD/Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning (2011) ‘International summit on the teaching profession - Improving teacher quality around the world’. McKinsey & Company.(2010) ‘Closing the talent gap: Attracting and retaining top-third graduates to careers in teaching’. EADSNE (op cit).

[26]             MacBeath, J. (2012) op cit.

[27]             Sources: ETUCE / EFEE, ‘Recruitment and Retention in the Education Sector’, forthcoming. Schleicher, A. (Ed.) (2012) ‘Preparing Teaching staff … for the 21st Century’. Eurydice, ‘Teachers and School Heads Salaries and Allowances in Europe, 2011/12’. OECD 'Improving teacher quality around the world’ 2011'. MacBeath, J. (2012) op cit. OECD/Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning (2011) op cit. All salaries are expressed in Purchasing Power Standard (PPS): the artificial common reference currency unit used to express the volume of economic aggregates for the purpose of spatial comparisons in such a way that price level differences between countries are eliminated.

[28]             Sources: ETUCE / EFEE, ‘Recruitment and Retention in the Education Sector’, forthcoming. Eurydice: ‘Teaching Reading in Europe: Contexts, Policies and Practices 2011’. OECD/Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning (2011) op cit.

[29]             Sources: European Commission ‘Developing Coherent and System-wide Induction Programmes for Beginning Teaching staff - a handbook for policymakers’. SEC(2010)538 final. OECD (2005) Teachers Matter. Paris: OECD European Union, Conclusions of the Council of 26 November 2009 on the professional development of teaching staff and school leaders (OJ 2009/C 302/04).

[30]             Sources: European Union. Conclusions of the Council of November 2009 on the professional development of teaching staff and school leaders (OJ 2009/C 302/04). European Commission, reports of peer learning activities on Vocational Education and Training. Eurydice, Key Data 2012. OECD TALIS (2009).

[31]             ETUCE ‘Analysis of a mini-survey on the impact of the economic crisis on teacher education in the European Union’, 2012


[32]             Conclusions of the Council on the priorities for enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training for 2011-2020. OJ C 2341.12.2010

[33]             General Teaching Council for England (December 2005) ‘Continuing Professional Development’.

[34]             Sources: European Commission, Thematic Working Group 'Teacher Professional Development' (2011) Report of a Peer Learning Activity ‘Policy approaches to defining and describing teacher competences’. European Commission. Conclusions of the Peer Learning Conference 'Education²: Policy support for Teacher Educators'. Brussels, March 2012. ETF ‘VET teacher professional development in a policy learning perspective’.

[35]             Sources: European Commission, Report of a Peer Learning Activity ‘Policy approaches supporting the acquisition and continuous development of teacher competences’. Hattie, J. (2003) ‘Teachers make a difference – what is the research evidence?’ Professional Learning and Leadership Development, NSW DET. OECD TALIS.  2009. EFEE (European Federation of Education Employers) ‘School Leadership and governance: lifelong learning’. School Leadership Report, April 2012.

[36]             Sources: OECD ‘Teaching in focus, 01/2012’. OECD, Paris 2012. Muijs, D. ‘Leadership and organisational performance: from research to prescription?’ International Journal of Educational Management, 25 (1). Lumby, J. ‘Leading organisational culture: issues of power and equity’. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, September 2012, 40, 576-591. EPNoSL Report on EPNoSL PLA in Munich, February 2012. ETUCE ‘School Leadership in Europe: issues, challenges and opportunities’. 2012. European Commission: Report of a Peer Learning Activity ‘School Leadership for learning’.

[37]             OECD (2012) Teaching in focus, 01/2012.

[38]             EFEE ‘School Leadership and governance: lifelong learning’. School Leadership Report, April 2012.

[39]             Sources: EFEE op cit. OECD (2008) ‘Improving school leadership’, Volume 1: Policy and Practice. Eurydice (2012) ‘Key Data on Education in Europe 2012’. Brussels: EACEA. OECD (2012) ‘Teaching in focus’, 01/2012. EPNoSL Report on PLA in Munich, Feb. 2012.

[40]             Sources: EPNoSL Report on PLA February 2012. OECD ‘Teaching in focus’, 01/2012. Schleicher, A ‘Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for 21st century’. OECD, 2012

[41]             Eurydice: provisional data

[42]             Sources: Murray, J. (2012) Presentation at peer learning conference ‘Education2: Policy support for Teacher Educators’, Brussels, 26-28 March 2012. European Commission ‘Perspectives on Teacher Educator policies in European countries: an overview’. Working Document prepared for the peer learning conference 'Education²: Policy support for Teacher Educators', Brussels March 2012. Author: Francesca Caena. Swennen, A., Jones, K., Volman, M. ‘Teacher educators: their identities, sub-identities and implications for professional development’. Professional Development in Education, 36,  2010


[44]             Sources: Snoek, M., Swennen, A. and van der Klink, M. (2009) ‘The quality of teacher educators in the European policy debate. Actions and measures to improve professionalism of teacher educators’. Presented at ATEE Conference 2009

[45]             European Commission ‘Perspectives on Teacher Educator policies in European countries: an overview’. Working Document prepared for the peer learning conference 'Education²: Policy support for Teacher Educators', Brussels March 2012. Author: Francesca Caena.

[46]             ETUCE (2008) ‘Teacher Education in Europe’. Brussels: ETUCE.

[47]             Murray, J. & Harrison, J. Editorial. European Journal of Teacher Education, 31 (2), May 2008.