Nicky Morgan backs plan for new ‘Royal College’

The Education Secretary will soon announce a funding package for a College of Teaching, to be run along similar lines to the royal medical colleges.  

Nicky Morgan will announce a taxpayer-backed start up fund for the new college within the next few weeks, which will provide training, carry out research and set standards for teachers. Equivalent to bodies in the medical profession like the Royal College of Physicians, it will have no role in disciplinary hearings or issues about pay and teaching conditions.

Mrs Morgan is keen to support the college as part of a government drive to raise the status of teaching, but the college will be completely independent of government, the Telegraph reports. The initiative is part of her charm offensive towards the profession, which has included fresh talks with unions to cut workload and reduce bureaucracy.

A new report from the Royal Society of Arts claims that graduates may be put off teaching because of a culture of punitive targets, performance-related pay and high stakes testing. It backs plans for the college, because it will ensure that society no longer “reduces the teacher role to that of a compliant technician whose job is largely to implement protocols and carry out instructions”.

Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie is one of the main backers of the college. She wants it to be a practice-based career ladder and an efficient quality-control on teachers, with voluntary membership (unlike the General Teaching Council). She says it is crucial that that there is no interference from Whitehall:  “But most of all, it must be a politician free zone. Politicians like me cannot be allowed our grubby mits on it. That would defeat the whole point, and make it toxic for teachers,” she said.

Labour supports the college, but has also pledged to introduce a ‘teacher licensing’ programme to bar poorly-performing teachers from the classroom.

Are you pleased about the government’s promise of start-up funding? Do you think politicians will be able to resist meddling with the college?

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