Some of the UK’s leading independent schools have pledged their support to the establishment of a Royal College of Teaching, to raise the status of the teaching profession in the UK.
The Independent Schools Association, which represents 320 UK schools, is backing a campaign to shape a royal body for the teaching profession.
Speaking at ISA’s Autumn Study Conference in Stratford Upon Avon this weekend, Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West, will argue that a Royal College is vital if teachers are to enjoy equal status with other professions- and if schools are to be insulated from the short term policy changes of government.
“Royal Colleges and other professional bodies have promoted and protected the status of professions like medicine for hundreds of years – and yet teachers have no equivalent body”, Charlotte Leslie will say.
“For too many years teaching has lagged behind in professional status. A Royal College would finally put teaching on a more even footing with other careers – so that gaining Qualified Teacher Status is not the end of training but the beginning.”
“A Royal College would also preserve independence, and encourage a long term view of education, protecting teachers from the policy changes of successive governments. The more you look at issues like the encroachment of the state into the classroom, the lack of a clear practice-based career progression for teachers, or the linking of academic education studies and evidence with the realities of the classroom, the more a ‘royal college’ shaped hole seems to emerge. Both the Education Select Committee and The Academies Commission now agree that this is something teachers should seriously explore.”
Angela Culley, Chair of The Independent Schools Association and Head of The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells, agrees:
“The concept of a new Royal College for Teaching is one which many independent schools wholeheartedly support. After decades of state intervention in the classroom it could allow teachers to regain ownership of our profession.”
“Teaching is perhaps the most important profession of all. The skill of our future doctors, scientists and policy makers depends upon the quality of our teachers today. A Royal College would bring teachers together at a time when schools are becoming increasingly autonomous and could provide a crucial role in providing a single home for support, research and evidence based guidance – particularly for new or free schools.”
“I believe that a royal college could enhance the quality of teaching through the sharing of expertise and best practice, and provide our teachers with the recognition they deserve. Perhaps most importantly, it could give the status of teaching a much needed boost, ensuring that our views can influence policy at the highest levels.”
The Independent Schools Association’s Autumn Study Conference is being held at Ettington Chase Hotel in Stratford Upon Avon from 8th – 9th November 2013.