Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

College of Teaching Dreams Close to Becoming a Reality

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

College of Teaching Dreams Close to Becoming a Reality

Article excerpt

Government endorses plans for independent professional body

A College of Teaching could eventually be responsible for managing teacher training and qualifications, it has emerged.

Proposals for the profession's own royal college were formally backed by ministers this week, with education secretary Nicky Morgan announcing that government funding could be made available to get the long-awaited project off the ground. But teachers have stressed that the proposed independent body must remain free from political interference.

The college would give teachers a greater say in professional standards, curriculum and assessment, as well as offering support in skills development, but would play no role in representing members on issues relating to pay and conditions.

Schools minister David Laws said that the college would put teachers "on an equal footing with other high-status professions like law and medicine".

A public consultation, launched this week, called for expressions of interest from organisations keen to get the college up and running. Significantly, the document reveals that the institution could be handed some regulatory functions "in relation to teacher training and development". These could include managing the allocation of teacher training places and awarding qualified teacher status, duties that are currently undertaken by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

The move was welcomed by Alison Peacock, a member of the commission set up to develop plans for the college.

"It's helpful for the government to signal that, ultimately, if the college were as successful as one would hope it would be, there would be scope for coming into the territory that has previously been owned by government," she said. "That opens it up to the prospect of something that goes beyond political ideology."

Ms Peacock, who is also headteacher of the Wroxham School in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, added: "This does need to be an independent organisation, [run] by teachers, for teachers. It's brilliant to have cross-party support, but there is a real recognition that this is something that needs to be encouraged but independent."

The Department for Education has said that the college could take on responsibility for "professional standards and CPD, moving stewardship of the profession out of the hands of the government and to the profession". …

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