Chartered College Of Teaching misses its membership target

April 6, 2018

One of the many educational bodies Michael Gove dispensed with was the GTC(E), a government funded compulsory professional body for teachers, best summed up by Tom Bennett as “an expensive magazine that could sack you”. In line with a lot of the Gove reforms, even before this was carried out, people were already looking for a way to turn the clock back. A movement among the education establishment began, for a new teacher’s professional body, one that was more independent and not compulsory. An attempt to fund it through donations failed to reach a target of £250 000 and only raised pledges for £21000, and before long it was announced that it would indeed be another government funded body, with promises of a frankly ludicrous £5 million from government.

Having blogged a lot during the initial discussion about what sort of organisation it should be, I haven’t had much to say since it became clear that it was not the sort of organisation I thought teachers needed. I would prefer a grassroots organisation, dominated by classroom teachers, steering clear of educationalists and consultants, and concentrating on tapping into the expertise that already exists in the profession rather than looking to the people who already tell teachers what to do for more of the same. There are good people involved, and there are things going on that I can be positive about, but what is being created is still looks to me like what the education establishment thinks teachers should want, not what teachers actually want.

In particular, I remain critical of:

  • the existence of “associate members”, members who aren’t actually teachers;
  • the complete lack of attempts to balance SLT and unpromoted teachers within the organisation;
  • the ongoing promotion of consultants;
  • events that are not conveniently timed or priced for classroom teachers;
  • the development of a category of “chartered teachers”: a generic “teacher status” for some of the profession, rather than a focus on more subject or specialism specific professional development.

So how has the attempt to create a new body gone? Well seven months ago, the NAO published a report on Retaining and developing the teaching workforce which told us the following:

The establishment of the Chartered College of Teaching is an important development. The college opened in January 2017. The Department is providing funding of up to £5 million over four years. In the longer term, it expects the college to be self-sufficient through membership fees (currently £45 per year) and income from its activities. The college aims to recruit as quickly as possible and has a target of 18,000 members by April 2018.

It’s now April 2018 and so I have been asking about membership numbers:

It would appear they would have to grow by 50% just to reach the target they have already missed. And if 12 000 still seems impressive, remember the level of funding of the organisation and please note that it was indicated in January that 1000s of those members were students with free memberships, hundreds were non-teaching “professional affiliates”:

I do wish them well (honest), teachers do need a wide variety of organisations doing different things. I do, however, wonder how this particular organisations merits £5 million of public money.

Here’s my suggestion for how to improve teacher professionalism. Instead of giving £5 million to one organisation, give it directly to classroom teachers in the form of a voucher each for professional development, and let us decide which organisations and events to spend it on. The Chartered College of Teaching could compete for that money, but so could researchED, subject associations or any other group involved in working with the profession. Let’s empower the profession by trusting teachers to decide on their own professional development needs.


  1. Well said, Andrew. I was shocked to see that the price of membership had shot up and when I looked at the benefits of rejoining for me, I could not see any. The events are overpriced and miles away and I have chartered teacher status through ASE – subject specific, I might add!
    Why spend £45 on something that has done nothing for me (apart from a *free* magazine)?

  2. Any way you look at it, 6,100 paid members is derisory, when you consider that the latest figures show that there are 438,000 FTE teachers in England, and as Andrew suggests, most of that 6,100 will be SLT, consultants and the like. I can’t see the College ever becoming self-funding, or indeed to have any authority whatever.

    If only Andrew’s suggestion were taken up! I’m not holding my breath.

  3. I joined last year and although I found access to journals great I also didn’t get a great deal of time read them. I decided not to renew my membership this year. Really like the idea of “PD vouchers”. Might actually allow more schools to allow staff to undertake external CPD often internal training is so generic and more subject specific PD is needed.

  4. In order for any organisation like the Chartered College of Teaching to be relevant it needs to satisfy two criteria.
    1) It needs to be owned and run by its membership. That is how the Institute of Physics operates, and also the IET, ASE and Royal Society of Chemistry. The Chartered College of Teaching on the other hand appears to be a corporate entity with no accountability to its members.
    2) It needs to offer grades of membership that reflect academic and professional attainment and subject specialism. Again the Institute of Physics, IET, ASE and Royal Society of Chemistry all do that. And if you ever want to see what happens when subject specialism is ignored, then try teaching A-level maths or physics in FE while being observed by the head of hair and beauty.
    Finally, if the Institute of Physics, IET, ASE and Royal Society of Chemistry can all operate on a self-funding basis with much lower potential membership levels than the “teaching profession”, I see no reason why the Chartered College of Teaching needs government support. And why the quotation marks for “teaching profession”? Well if teaching is ever to be regarded as a profession then those in the profession need to be empowered not enslaved. That obviously links in to point 1.

  5. […] after failing to raise sufficient money through a crowd-sourcing campaign. Many UK teachers have concerns about the College, how it will compare to the defunct and disliked General Teaching Council and whether it will […]

  6. […] wasn’t planning to write about the Chartered College Of Teaching again. Nobody involved seems to care about my criticisms, so I’m sure that when I write about it […]

  7. […] error prone. As well as messing up communication of the rules for its own elections, it has badly missed its membership targets and the peer review system for its journal turned into a farce. I would have thought these were […]

  8. […] MAT CEOs standing pay for all the staff in their MAT to join? Given that the Chartered College has utterly failed to meet its membership targets, how many of the small number of teachers who joined were actually signed up by their schools? And, […]

  9. […] Chartered College Of Teaching misses its membership target […]

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