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College of Teaching will need to raise up to £30m to get off the ground

The proposed College of Teaching could need as much as £30 million to get off the ground, it has emerged.

At an event in London today, a commission created to develop plans for the teacher-led organisation will outline its recommendations for how the college would operate. The blueprint was drawn up by the commission, led by the Prince’s Teaching Institute (PTI), following consultation with more than 1,000 teachers and school leaders.

The goal of the politically-independent organisation is to give teachers greater say over education policy, professional standards, curriculum and assessment, as well as offering support in developing their own teaching skills.

The college has the backing of most of the teachers’ unions, but the NASUWT today questioned “the credibility of a college created in an environment where teaching has become an effectively deregulated profession as a result of the policies of the secretary of state”.

The blueprint argues that membership of the College of Teaching should be voluntary, with three tiers of membership (associate, member and fellow). Membership fees would range from £30 to £130 per year, as it is “essential” that the college is financially self-sufficient, the report says.

In order to run courses and conferences, it is expected that its annual turnover would be £11-14 million, with “significant start-up funding” in the region of “£20 million to £30 million” required in the first decade of the organisation’s life.

The college would have no role in representing members on issues relating to pay and conditions, and would not hold disciplinary hearings, unlike the former General Council for Teaching in England. But it would reserve the right to “expel members if their conduct is seriously injurious to the reputation of the college”.

The commission describes the college’s principal activities as: “setting standards; enhancing professional development; and informing professional practice, standards and policy with evidence”.

Chris Pope, co-director of the PTI and chair of the commission, said the institution “will need to be motivated by a deep sense of moral and intellectual purpose”.

“It would celebrate high achievement in teaching; embody the most rigorous standards; be driven by its members; advise policy-makers; and ultimately determine the standards for teaching and teachers which should be met,” he added. 

The plans were welcomed by Mary Bousted (pictured), general secretary of the ATL union.

“Our children and young people need qualified, confident and expert professionals in schools, working together and using evidence rather than ideology to inform their practice,” she said. “We welcome the promise that a member-driven College of Teaching might join us in getting to this goal.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT heads’ union, said: “We need an organisation to take an evidence-based, non-political approach to setting standards in educational and professional practice. If teachers want professional respect and freedom from interference, they need a body like this to strengthen their voice.”

However NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates expressed concerns about “the diverse and often contradictory ambitions for the college expressed by its proponents, as well as the extent to which it seems to increasingly be regarded as a panacea for the wide range of problems faced currently by the education system”.

The commission will now use the blueprint to develop an implementation plan based on the proposed model.

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