Chartered College of Teaching

Today I attended the northern launch of the Chartered College of Teaching in Sheffield. I want to make some very preliminary reflections on the morning. (Unfortunately the lure of Sheffield United vs Scunthorpe United was too great – in fact I am writing this sat in my season ticket seat on the South Stand at Beautiful Downtown Bramall Lane – 40 minutes BEFORE kick off before I get any wisecracks!)
I joined the college a few weeks ago because I believe teaching needs an august body that can speak for it and raise the standing and professionalism of the greatest vocation. However I am also anxious that it doesn’t become a damp squib or even worse I funded mouthpiece of the government of the time.
My initial reactions are very positive. I think with its current chief executive, Dame Alison Peacock there is little danger of becoming subservient to the Secretary of State. The damp squib is still a danger if the college doesn’t grow and grow quickly.
I was very affected by its push for a more evidence and research driven profession. Of course the major problem with this is that government policy is rarely research driven and usually knee jerk driven. It will take many more brave educational leaders of the type of John Tomsett who spoke at the conference to turn this tide. Mr Tomsett, head of Huntington School in York is an inspirational speaker and, if you’ve read his books or blog you will see he is an inspirational writer.
He of course is in a position of strength working at a successful school – will heads of schools in more challenging circumstances be able to display his strength with the demands of quick fixes to get out of particular categories?
I left after lunch feeling quietly confident that the Chartered College could actually do what they have written on the can. However Dame Alison, John Tomsett et al cannot do this on their own. It needs teachers across the country to help build this college into the organisation we need. We often decry that change is done to us rather than driven by us. Well now we have an opportunity to drive this change through the college. We need a collective voice that isn’t politically motivated. The Chartered College of Teaching has the potential to be this voice. However we have a relatively short time to make this effective and we need to champion the aims of the college amongst our colleagues – those who are currently disinterested and especially those who are currently hostile – and grow the college so it truly becomes our voice.

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Mr Chadburn

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