It Seems I Won’t Be Joining The College Of TeachingFebruary 2, 2015
I feel conflicted because I have seen how many of the people involved in the project of creating a College Of Teaching have the best interests of the profession at heart. I also feel personally invested because so many of the teacher bloggers I respect are very hostile to the idea and I’ve tried to persuade them that we should at least give it a try. So none of what I’m about to say gives me any pleasure at all, but the latest proposal for the College of Teaching is pretty much the worst case scenario. Actually it’s worse than I ever imagined.
I had said I wouldn’t join if they let non-teachers in, and I included ex-teachers who are now consultants or teacher trainers in that. It’s turned out to be even worse than that. The proposal for setting up the College of Teaching says:
Membership will be open to all with an interest in education but chartered membership status will, in the first instance, be developed for and only available to practising classroom teachers.
And, in case, you think this is just some category for supporters with the “real members” being the chartered members, the plan is that the full chartered membership scheme will launch after four years. So that’s four years when literally anyone can get involved, and that’s when the millions in public money will be spent and when the structures will be set up.
How is this going to establish teachers as professionals? How is this anything other than an insult? How is the resulting organisation going to be anything other than a threat to the professional identity of teachers? I won’t be joining on this basis. I will be arguing against any public subsidy to such an organisation. I will be arguing against the existence of such an organisation. I will be arguing against any attempt on its part to speak for, assess, categorise or influence teachers.
In fact, the one thing that everyone agreed on, is that it should be independent of the politicians, hasn’t even been achieved. Under these terms the politicians could join. In fact, one wonders which organised groups with a political agenda relating to education will try to take over. Certainly, if there’s a real prospect of millions in public money in the hands of an organisation open to anyone with a beef about schools, why would we expect any of it to end up being spent on something that’s actually of benefit to teachers, the people with the least spare time to organise and the most reason not to trust such organisations?
The efforts to accommodate every vested interest in education have resulted in a plan that is not even about teachers, and may even be a threat to their professionalism. This is very disappointing. I hope the government have the sense not to fund it.