There’s some jiggery-pokery going on around the development of a new chartered body for teachers. One already exists and for some reason another group is trying to set up another, and take the royal charter of the first one. It’s all a bit confusing. But it’s all really begs the question of what will make such a body work?
Personally I’m all in favour of a chartered body. As I’ve stated here it works for other professions. I would just set out these minimum basic requirements that are necessary if the body is to be relevant and successful.
Firstly, it has to be of the profession and by the profession. This was one of the the main reasons the GTC failed to gain traction, it was imposed. Any professional body for/of teachers has to be run by teachers, not a self (or government) selected panel of the great and the good. I know there are not that many quango boards available to sit on these days, but they’ll just have to find some other cash cow to suckle on. I note for example that the council of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) are all either surgeons or teachers of surgery (and consequently ex-surgeons). If it is set up by a load of people who aren’t teachers then it will fail and will deserve to do so.
Secondly, it has to have a purpose. It would make sense to me if the current role undertaken by the NCTL was vested in a such a chartered body. I would also make the body responsible for conferring QTS and any higher designations of teacher capability. This will give status to the body and ensure it has relevance to the profession.
Thirdly (and this is the bit many won’t like), it should also be responsible for the maintenance of the profession, and hence the necessity for some form of disciplinary function. I know the disciplinary issue was another of the reasons for people to dislike the GTC, but if a profession is to have standards then they need to be maintained. One element of that is the need, sometimes, to point out where they are not being maintained. That is how trust is kept.
There are about a zillion other points I could make but those are pre-requisites in my view. A body based on such foundations would enhance and embed the already high regard that teaching has with the general public. And who knows, it might even make the politicians think twice before interfering.