Proposal for Royal College of Teaching welcomed

Discussions are underway for creating a new professional body for teachers, to help raise the status of the profession.

The exam board AQA has sponsored a booklet on how a royal college for teachers might work and MPs on the Education Select Committee have backed the initiative, the BBC reports. One of the MPs on the committee, Charlotte Leslie, says it must be created by the teaching profession and not the government.

Dame Joan McVittie, a secondary head and former president of ASCL, said that any new professional body must avoid being seen as an arm of either the government or teachers’ unions and questioned how it would be funded.

The teaching unions are in favour. ASCL’s Brian Lightman wants it to be self-regulating and believes that its biggest challenge will be ‘to win the hearts and minds of the teaching profession’. Russell Hobby from the NAHT hopes it will provide an independent counter-weight to ‘destructive political interference’, while NASUWT’s Chris Keates wants a royal college to be a ‘standard bearer for teacher quality and excellence’.

The Education Secretary has also backed its formation, as a voice for the teaching profession in competition with unions. “There is a growing consensus that teachers should emulate other professions, and set up a new royal college – like the Royal College of Surgeons or Engineers – identifying, exemplifying and defining best practice in the teaching profession,” Mr. Gove said, and joked that “any endorsement from me might blight its chances”.

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