The College Of Teaching Claims Your Cash

March 17, 2016

I have to admit that I haven’t read the new education White Paper yet. But I’ve read this on the Claim Your College website:

The College of Teaching, the new independent and voluntary professional body for the teaching profession, has welcomed the announcement of support and up to £5 million staged seed funding outlined within the Department for Education’s Educational Excellence, Everywhere white paper, presented to parliament today by the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP.

The College of Teaching is determined that the teaching profession should take this opportunity to establish a professional body matching the best that exists in medicine, law, engineering, accountancy and all the other professions in our country. This pledge provides the seed funding required to establish the College of Teaching as an authoritative voice of professionalism over the next five years.

You can search for “College Of Teaching” on this blog and read the full shameful story. The main background is this:

  • The education select committee suggested there could be a new professional body for teachers a few weeks before the last one, the GTC, was shut down.
  • This was then supported by a conference of headteachers organised by the Princes Trust.
  • A group consisting of CPD providers of one sort or another was formed (including at least one private company) and began plans for setting up the organisation.
  • Meetings announcing this new organisation for teachers took place on school days when teachers could not easily attend.
  • A proposal that included membership for “anyone interested in education” was put forward.
  • A board of trustees, that was half non-teachers, was formed. Of those who were teachers: 3 were heads; 3 were middle or senior managers, and only 2 were unpromoted teachers.
  • An attempt to crowdfund £250 000 to get the organisation started began. It raised less than a tenth of that, and most of the money raised wasn’t from teachers. The big donations were from existing educational bodies. A fair few consultants appeared on the list.

This organisation has been set up by the CPD industry, and according to the White Paper its main task will be to “accredit professional development to ensure that it is high quality” which sounds a lot like a way to regulate the CPD industry. Many industries do self-regulate, so that may not be a bad idea in itself, although it is outrageous that the taxpayer should fund it. However, if it is allowed to present itself as a professional body for teachers two problems arise. Firstly, it will be able to claim to speak for teachers despite having no mandate from us and having been set up by organisations whose main source of income is from being paid to tell us what to do. Secondly, there is a real danger that it will seek to accredit teachers too, something which has been proposed previously and which can be used to regulate teachers. It will be another organisation funded by the government, run by the education establishment, and exercising power over teachers, just like the GTC.

Imagine what could have been done with that money? Imagine the difference ResearchED could have made with that kind of funding. Or imagine, as I suggested in a previous blogpost, if there was an organisation representing and supporting unpromoted teachers. Even if the money had gone to a professional body for teachers, actually set up by teachers and supported by teachers rather than vested interests, it could have done some good.

The CPD industry, and all the lovely consultants who work for it, have just swiped £5 million that should have been spent on helping teachers. Don’t expect to hear much about this in the press though, or hear ministers being quizzed about this on TV. After all it’s only teachers being ripped off, and who listens to teachers?


  1. I’m afraid this sort of thing is inevitable when you have and education secretary whose prior knowledge of education was limited to having been a pupil at one point in her life. The only safe course of action is to listen to the experts, no?

    I’ve spent the last ten years trying to convince policy-makers that the world of education is bifurcated between those who teach and the experts–almost mutually-exclusive categories. Alas, the usual reaction is that they couldn’t possibly have risen to such heights if they didn’t know a lot about education. And they do, of course–they know a lot about the politics of getting ahead in the byzantine world of performance management and other such arcane subjects. Teaching, or even a knowledge of what kids should learn, doesn’t even touch their universe.

  2. A depressingly familiar story. Here in Australia the various “Teachers’ Institutes” have quietly been amassing a great deal of power and government funding, despite being viscerally hated by almost everyone actually working in classrooms. They were originally set up to “accredit and advocate for” teachers, but in every case the advocacy part has been discreetly abandoned, and they merely represent an extra layer of (completely unnecessary) bureaucracy.

  3. This is all very depressing, and predictable. What goes around, comes around: GTC all over again.

  4. If the press is determined to bury this and teachers are not invited to be part of the process of setting up their regulatory body, what left for teachers? Or is this simply another strategy for disempowering teachers and removing any opportunity for pro-active decision making?

  5. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

  6. I agree this is a shame. It’s like claiming to be ‘independent’ while parents pay the rent and all the bills. Those who started this are working with deadlines related to the Royal Charter and who hasn’t made a bad/’make things easy’ decision under pressure? They’re just people trying to do something that’s not been done before. I’m still sure they have good intentions. Wrote something here about it in staffrm > http://staffrm.io/@learntschool/smxZzHvifO

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