The arrangements for Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) and Excellent Teacher (ET) assessment ended on 31 August 2013, following consultation and subsequent acceptance by the government of the School Teacher’s Review Body’s recommendations in its 21st report. The Review Body recommended that these higher-level standards be abolished as part of a wider package of reform to give schools greater freedom to determine how teachers are paid.

From 1 September, schools can decide to create higher salary posts for teachers whose primary purpose is modelling and leading improvement of teaching skills. The school teachers’ pay and conditions document (STPCD) 2013 (section 2, paragraphs 19.3 and 50.1; section 3, paragraphs 48 to 51) and supporting departmental advice (pages 18 to 20) provide details about the arrangements for teachers paid on the pay range for leading practitioners.

The leading practitioner role

Leading practitioners will be expected to take a leadership role in developing, implementing and evaluating policies and practice in their workplace that contribute to school improvement.

Becoming a leading practitioner

It is only possible to become a leading practitioner if a school decides to create a post or posts that have the primary purpose of modelling and leading improvement of teaching skills. Schools will normally be expected to advertise any vacancies and appoint candidates in the same way that they do for other vacancies. Headteachers will be expected to use their professional judgement to appoint the very best teachers to these posts.

There are no national criteria for appointment to these posts except that teachers must have QTS. However, successful candidates will normally be expected to have a sustained track record of successful performance as a teacher on the upper pay range, to demonstrate excellence in teaching and to have contributed to the improvement of teaching skills.

It is no longer possible to apply for AST or ET assessment, although we are aware that some teachers continued to do so up until the closure of the AST and ET schemes this summer.

Pay arrangements for leading practitioners

Leading practitioners will be paid above the maximum of the upper pay range and placed on the pay range for leading practitioners. Section 2, paragraph 19.3 in the STPCD 2013 provides details about the pay range.

Pay arrangements for former ASTs and ETs

The safeguarding arrangements detailed at section 2, paragraph 35 of the STPCD 2013 protect ASTs and ETs whose pay is reduced as a result of losing their AST or ET post.