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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Towards a royal college of teaching?!

I've put together a booklet on the idea of a 'Royal College of Teaching'. Get involved and tell us what you think!
As the daughter of a surgeon, I suppose I've been brought up with a developed sense of just how much the professionalism of people like doctors and teachers matter to our public services. It is easy for politicians to forget that the success of schools and hospitals is not ultimately down to Whitehall Mandarins, officials and politicians, but the doctors, nurses and teachers who work in hospitals and schools, and other public services.

One of my favourite Conservative thinkers and poet, T.S. Eliot wisely warns against trying to 'devise systems so perfect that nobody will need to be good'.   I'm a conservative because I believe in systems that enable people to be good; that bring the best out of people and encourage them to take personal responsibility for themselves, and their professional excellence; not a top-down bureaucracy dreamt up by someone with a swanky degree in a stuffy room in Westminster or Whitehall, and aggressively micro-managed to the coal-face through a series of people with lots of management qualifications but no real life experience of the thing they are supposed to be managing.  Our NHS isn't  a system, it's the people who work in hospitals. Our schools are our teachers.

I was always grateful that it wasn't politicians who told my dad how best to perform a surgical operation, but that the Royal College of Surgeons, as a body of doctors set the standards of what good surgery looked like, was the body that promoted and protected those standards. But that's not the case in education. Over decades the state has steadily encroached into the classroom. I think it's time for teachers to regain ownership and responsibility for their profession and professional excellence.  ( I've written a bit more at length in the Telegraph HERE)

So I've put together, with teachers and professionals, a pamphlet comprising views from all sorts of people within the education profession, (including all the Unions) and from other professionals who have a professional body like engineers and medics, to discuss what " A Royal College of Teaching" might look like; potential pit-falls and other ideas.  We launched it last night at the Royal College of Surgeons and I was really proud to have  Norman, from Brightstowe Academy ( the most improved school in the country last year) speaking at the event!

 We really want to get feedback so if you're interested, please contact me and I can send you a copy, or its available online at www.tdtrust.org.uk/rcot   . There's a feedback page and we'd really welcome thoughts.

The irony of all this is , of course, that such an idea cannot come from a politician like me, but from the teachers and teaching profession itself, and if teachers don't want it, it will never happen. So please, if you are a teacher and have opinions, thoughts on this, get involved!

 There's also a bit more information on my website.





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