Today, Nicky Morgan and David Laws have released a joint statement of support for a College of Teaching as part of a wider government consultation on creating a world-class teaching profession.
The idea of a College has been around for a long time, but momentum has steadily increased following a recommendation to explore the project further by the Education Select Committee in May 2012.
An initial blueprint for the College (published in February 2014 by the Prince’s Teaching Institute) contains proposals based on extensive consultation with teachers and was authored by a committee of teachers and a commission of senior individuals with experience of professional bodies and education.
At the heart of the proposal is a belief that whatever a College of Teaching looks like, it has to be driven by the profession, for the profession. The blueprint notes that the current absence of an independent body has resulted in successive governments stepping into the vacuum to define professional practice.
This, the blueprint argues, has in turn led to the progressive disempowerment of the profession, which has affected the standing of teaching in society, and its ability to develop as a profession.
Working with and representing schools, teachers and students as SSAT does, we know these frustrations are felt acutely and that there are thousands of committed teachers and school leaders with an appetite to change this paradigm.
For it to be successful, the College will have to be developed, delivered and governed by the profession itself. We are working to articulate and support the direction of change through our work with schools on the Redesigning Schooling campaign and the Lead Practitioner framework.
In Redesigning Schooling – 10: What the new professionalism means for England, Sue Williamson, SSAT Chief Executive, stated:
Teachers and schools must be accountable, but it has to be intelligent accountability, based on professional standards not political whims or bureaucratic rules. A climate of fear – whether based on real or imagined threats – is not conducive to innovative practice and the developing profession.
The system has to allow creation of a climate for teachers to establish a professional culture built on pedagogical thinking and practice, collaboration and research. The profession must reach out to other stakeholders, including parents, employers, academics and policymakers in order to reach consensus on the outcomes of schooling, and to promote the different routes to success.
We know that building this professional culture requires professional development that supports teachers to actually change their behaviours and practices to improve the learning of their students.
Since 2002, SSAT has invested in developing the Lead Practitioner (LP) framework as a way to put teacher-led research and evidence-based practice at the heart of professional development. Written and assessed by practitioners, over 8000 individuals have used the framework to develop their own pedagogical thinking and practice, and to lead the development of others in their school.
This is why we have put forward the LP framework as a proposed pathway that could be adapted, through consultation with the profession, into the professional standards by which teachers could be accredited to a College of Teaching.
SSAT believes that a profession-led, independent College of Teaching, ensuring all teachers have access to high-quality professional development and recognition, is no less than our profession deserves.
With the publicly stated support of the government and other political parties, a College of Teaching – in whatever form it eventually takes – will play a key role in the future of your career.
Here’s what you need to read
How to add your voice
Claim Your College is a campaign to create a new member-driven College of Teaching. The campaign is led by a group of like-minded individuals and organisations, of which SSAT is one, that have joined together to get the ball rolling. We are now inviting teachers and school and college leaders to join in.
DfE consults on plans for “world-class teaching profession”