Government claim that college of teaching will operate free from political interference is risible, says NASUWT

Commenting on the announcement from the Secretary of State Nicky Morgan that she is to support plans to establish a College of Teaching, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“The NASUWT has never objected in principle to the creation of a dedicated professional body for teaching.

“In the right circumstances, such a body could have a useful role to play in the provision of professional development and training, commissioning high-quality research and sharing professional practice.

“The NASUWT has continued to emphasise that the deregulation of the teaching profession by Coalition Government and the lack of clarity about a College’s aims and objectives among its supporters has created serious barriers to the creation of a genuinely effective body that would enhance the professional status of teaching.

“The confirmation by the Secretary of State that the Department for Education is to provide significant start-up funding to support the current flawed proposal beggars belief.

“Teachers have not forgotten the claim by the former Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, that a key aim of this College would be to usurp the role of teacher trade unions, a claim that has not been repudiated by his successor.

“The idea that ministers are proposing to plough vast sums of taxpayers’ money into a College with the intention of allowing it to operate entirely free from political interference is risible.

“It is little wonder that so few teachers have expressed support for the current model of a College of Teaching, which is set to be an exclusive club for those who can afford what is likely to be a significantly high membership fee.

“Before spending millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money on this flawed blueprint, the Government should be focusing on addressing the need for teachers to have a contractual entitlement to access professional development and the time and opportunity to do so.”

Notes to editors

The NASUWT will be debating a College of Teaching at its Annual Conference over Easter, setting out what the Union believes are the pre-requisites for such a body. The text of the motion which will be debated is below.

Conference deplores the attacks on the status of teachers in the UK.
Conference recognises the right of government administrations to expect to have a properly regulated teaching profession but is opposed to any system that allows politicians to interfere in its regulation.

Conference asserts that those proposing to establish a College of Teaching in England and those instrumental in setting up the Education Workforce Council in Wales must learn the lessons from the failure of the General Teaching Councils in England and Wales.

Conference supports the National Executive in continuing to campaign for:
(i) an independent system of teacher regulation that has oversight of professional standards;
(ii) a clear separation between the role of any teacher regulatory body and the role of other agencies; and
(iii) a contractual entitlement for every teacher to access nationally accredited continuing professional development.

Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
0121 457 6250/07867 392746