Where do I sign?

Originally posted 04/05/15 on @staffrm

If I could do it right now, right this minute, I would. I’d sign my name on the dotted line.

I’ve been a supporter of the idea of the College of Teaching since before there was an idea for the College of Teaching…. In my work, I’d sometimes been frustrated, dissatisfied – and bored – wanting to do more and go further and make more of a difference; I’d been inspired, driven and energised when offered new challenges and the opportunities to translate my zeal into action; I’d been saddened, angered, and despondent at stories in the media about the ineffectiveness of teachers, about what schools “should” be doing in their curriculum offer and about children who aren’t reaching their potential.

I’d been looking for ‘something more’ that would address these issues, improve outcomes for pupils and at the same time unite the profession with a sense of shared purpose, enabling long-term self-management and a fresh educational vision.

Last year, surfing ‘professional development’ sites, I chanced upon one of David Weston’s Teacher Development Trust blogs, and this in turn led me to the Claim Your College campaign. This year, following a series of consultations, the campaign submitted their proposal for the College of Teaching, and that proposal was accepted. In the months since this happened, the major political parties have included support for the College within their manifestos, most teaching and leadership unions have reasserted their support and interest groups such as the Headteachers’ Roundtable have declared that the College an integral part of their vision.

If there are ineffective teachers, then schools and professional support procedures should be challenging and mentoring …thereby changing this situation. Systems should exist for career shaping and professional development that are open to all teachers nationally, regardless of phase, career stage, managerial level, training route, subject or school type. All of these teachers will be invited into the College of Teaching.

Apathy, boredom, lack of challenge and the ‘plateau’ in effectiveness are symptomatic of school systems that do not enable on-going stimulus and development to staff. The College of Teaching will offer a structured sequence of progression activities, related to individual experience, subject delivery, support of others in the profession, development of professional knowledge and national accreditation criteria. Different membership levels will enable teachers to become recognised as contributors to the profession as a whole.

The over-arching aim of the College of Teaching needs to be to enable improved pupil learning. Learning is a long-term activity, taking a child within the present system 13 or 14 years at least, just to grasp the ‘essentials’ that society validates. The SSAT’s ‘Vision for Education’ urges us to look “beyond five year policy cycles” – it supports, in fact centralises, the College’s involvement in establishing a more mature professional credibility. In The Key’s recent Survey Report, leaders signal the importance of improved ‘quality of teaching’ and ‘staff development and training’ in bringing about improved quality of education.

The College of Teaching offers so much potential.

Where do I sign?