I was wrong about the Chartered College Of Teaching. It’s worse than I thought it would be.

July 13, 2018


I keep resolving not to blog about the Chartered College Of Teaching. Obscurity will probably stop them getting public money faster than infamy will. Then some new information comes out, or they do something, that I cannot ignore. It’s now three posts in a row about them, but I couldn’t ignore this.

Just to remind you, this was meant to be a new professional association for teachers. It was made clear right from the start that it was meant to be teacher led, with David Cameron as prime minister promising:

…we will be working with the Claim Your College consortium in support of its proposal to establish a brand new, teacher-led College of Teaching

The heavy involvement of CPD providers in how it was set up always seemed suspicious. Lots of non-teachers were allowed to hold interim positions before there were elections. But the promise always was that eventually it would be teacher led.

My position was that a new professional association could only develop us as professionals if it empowered ordinary classroom teachers, rather than simply giving another platform for those who already tell us what to do. I thought there were real dangers that it would end up formally run mainly by teachers who were senior managers (and particularly heads) and that the non-teacher associates would be able to build up a lot of informal influence, through networking and through encouraging teachers they have influence over to get involved.

I was wrong. The take over by the education establishment has been far more blatant than that.

First non-teachers were appointed to the board of trustees. Then a category of members called “fellows”, which included non-teachers, was created. Then the majority of the positions on the ruling council were reserved for fellows.

And this is where we are now. The organisation that was meant to re-establish us as professionals, is selecting its officers and council members under rules that favour non-teachers.

The candidates list is here. It’s remarkable how far away the Chartered College is from being a teacher led professional association for teachers.

The position of president (reserved for fellows) has one candidate. That candidate is the chief executive of a MAT and an executive principal.

The position of treasurer (there was some confusion over whether this was reserved for fellows or not) has one candidate who is an accountant and makes no mention of ever having been a teacher (and no, I don’t know how that is possible under the rules).

The position of internal vice president (reserved for fellows) has 4 candidates who based on their own descriptions are:

  • The founder of a MAT who implies they are not currently teaching.
  • The managing director of a school improvement company who makes no mention of ever having taught.
  • An author and founder of an education organisation (which appears to be another consultancy). This one I think is a teacher, assuming that’s what they mean by “I am an accomplished member of the Senior Leadership Team” but that’s inferred rather than stated clearly.
  • A leadership consultant.

The position of external vice president has 7 candidates who, based on their own descriptions, are:

  • The CEO of a MAT.
  • A National Leader of Education/Headteacher/director of a MAT.
  • Somebody who has been a school leader and implies they might still be.
  • The Executive Director of ITT for 126 primary and special schools.
  • Somebody who doesn’t state what job they do but implies they are involved in research (they are actually a professor of education).
  • A teacher.
  • A Lead Practitioner and Research Lead in a school.

The other 8 positions reserved for fellows on the council has 60 candidates who, based on their own descriptions, are:

  • 12 working in ITT/education research/lecturing in education and either not school based or not based in a single school
  • 8 members of SMT (but not headteachers)
  • 1 barrister
  • 2 consultants
  • 11 headteachers/principals
  • 1 director of music at a school
  • 3 CEOs of MATs/executive headteachers who aren’t identified as being headteachers as well
  • 1 retired teacher
  • 1 teacher/ITT lead for a teaching school
  • 11 teachers (mostly in promoted posts, but not obviously SMT)
  • 1 founder of a MAT
  • 1 “works across” a MAT
  • 1 former headteacher
  • 4 unclear (including 1 who explicitly says they are no longer a teacher)
  • 1 professor in a teaching hospital
  • 1 CEO of a (CPD) charity

There are 33 candidates for the 10 members’ positions. Again, this is SMT heavy and there are a few in there who don’t actually appear to be what you would normally call “teachers”, but it is a bit more reflective of the profession than the other categories.

But looking across the candidates, this is not looking like an organisation that will enable teachers to reclaim their professionalism. This looks like an organisation run by people who already tell teachers what to do. Beyond that, there is the issue of people who are allowed to stand because they are fellows, who seem to have very little connection at all to teaching, while actual teachers who aren’t fellows would be banned from standing. Worst of all, there can be no excuse for consultants, people who have an explicit commercial interest in CPD, being able to vote, let alone stand, in these elections. This is an organisation receiving substantial public funds to spend on CPD. That seems like a clear conflict of interest.

We already know that the top two leadership positions will go to non-teachers. It will be up to the electorate to decide the rest. But there is no clear path from this mess to a genuinely teacher led organisation that is based on advancing teacher autonomy. Worse, those of us who remember the GTCE will live in fear of politicians giving this education establishment quango some real power and claiming they are giving it to teachers.


  1. Reblogged this on DT & Engineering Teaching Resources (Michael Oyebode Limited) and commented:
    I was wrong about the Chartered College Of Teaching. It’s worse than I thought it would be.

  2. […] teachers voice concern about England’s Chartered College of Teaching being run by people who are not practising […]

  3. […] will be anything but teacher-led. The discussion has been spearheaded by Andrew Old’s recent blog (entitled “I was wrong about the Chartered College Of Teaching. It’s worse than I thought […]

  4. Andrew, thank you for posting this profound analysis of yet another unwelcome development in the war against us. Without you, this would have passed me by as if invisible.
    Alas, I concur with your final conclusions.
    It seems that we have no-one who speaks for us and those charged with doing so (as you note) have no proper qualification to do so. Your concern that they may morph into yet another layer of embedded parasites is, I believe, more an inevitability. Our Scottish equivalents (of which I am more familiar) are widely regarded as enemy organisations. All we can expect of them is more recommendations, more CPD, more think-tanks, more political goals, more IT initiatives, more funding for themselves. Indeed, more of everything good for them and bad for us.
    I wish all the education experts and their parasitic institutions would go away. I am sure that you and your readers could suggest a place for them.

  5. Thank you Andrew. I can’t deny that the evidence you present does support the apparent inevitability that the CCoT will be largely run by non-teachers.

    I guess I have two questions, which have personally plagued me since the beginning:
    1) Exactly what kind of autonomy are you thinking such an organisation should result in?
    2) Exactly what kind of teachers do you think would be available and willing to run such an organisation?

    • 1) I think the first priority of the College should have beed to identify precisely that, the areas of teaching where leaving it to teacher judgement (rather than school policy) would be most valuable. If they cannot do that, they are not promoting professionalism.
      2) The ruling council should only ever meet at weekends and in the holidays, (and not too often) so any teacher who wishes to commit their free time to that can.

      • Both sound reasonable, but would it be coherent to say to teachers: We’re going to grant you the power to decide what power you should be granted…?

        • Teachers already have the power to decide what they want. I’m suggesting that a professional body for teachers should have an opinion on it too.

          • The professional body should only have an ‘opinion’ on teacher autonomy, not the power to grant it…?

          • So what kinds of autonomy are we talking about?

  6. […] Andrew Old – (for the counter view) https://teachingbattleground.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/i-was-wrong-about-the-chartered-college-of-tea… […]

  7. […] by @oldandrew, and you can read for yourself many of his recent thoughts about this here, here, here, here and […]

  8. […] it will be anything but teacher-led. The discussion has been spearheaded by Andrew Old’s recent blog (entitled “I was wrong about the Chartered College Of Teaching. It’s worse than I thought it […]

  9. Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

  10. […] I was wrong about the Chartered College Of Teaching. It’s worse than I thought it would be. […]

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