Initially I had no desire to write about the developing plans for the College of Teachers but after some brief exchanges on Twitter with David Weston and Gareth Alcott about a blogpost by Andrew Old I've reached the point where I have some particular questions and Twitter just doesn't seem the appropriate format for them anymore. I'm not expecting a reply and this blog has been as much about developing my own thinking on this subject as anything else.
I'd like to thank Gareth and David for their engagement with sceptics on social media. David took the time to forward me a copy of the Claim your College proposal document, although this document does little to assuage my own fears it has focused my thinking and I have quoted liberally from it below. Similarly Andrew Old's blogging on this topic has been superb to the point where prominent bloggers usually opposed to Andrew, Miss Smith for example, have approved. Anyway here are the questions;
'The process to appoint the Founding Directors will be managed by a recruitment company and a Select Committee will select candidates. The Selection Committee will comprise six practising teachers and headteachers nominated by six of the main Unions: four practising teachers and headteachers nominated by organisations who have initiated the Claim your College campaign; and six representatives from other key stakeholder groups (three heads nominated by the Local Government Association, the Independent Schools Commission and the Commission of Academy Primciples, and three Teacher Governors nominated by the Local Governor's Association).'
While the Claim your College point out that the founding directors will be appointed through 'transparent, public selection process' the particular structure of the selection committee worries me.
Question 1: Is there anything preventing the interested bodies from nominating a selection committee sympathetic to their particular interests?
'The range of external training offered to the education community is wide and the quality variable. This is also reflected within schools, where the processes for professional learning and development vary wildly from superficial to world-class. The community that the membership represents should be in a position to offer advice and comment.'
'The new College must not present a threat to other professional organisations that are providing value to education and command significant loyalty from their members.'
Question 2: Will the College of Teaching be able to describe the CPD offered by a professional organisation as 'superficial' and not present a threat to that organisation?
'Chartered status must become an achievement that headteachers and employers value and come to regard as a normal expectation of those seeking promotion or employment.'
'The essential elements that have universal agreement are that a College of Teaching must be…Voluntary.'
Question 3: If chartered status is to be a normal expectation for employment how can membership to the college remain voluntary?