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Heads' think tank calls on next government to 'unleash creative powers of teachers'

The next government must make Qualified Teacher Status mandatory, introduce “tiered” Ofsted inspections and set aside a pot of cash to attract the best school staff to the most deprived areas, a heads' think tank has said.

The Headteachers’ Roundtable education manifesto, published today, exactly a year before the general election, also includes a drive to improve the quality of the profession. 

The group has put forward 10 policy recommendations, which it believes will provide a “coherent” strategy to improving the education system overall.

In a statement the roundtable said: “We believe that the education policy priorities for the next parliament must be focused upon continuously improving the quality of teaching in our schools. However, to enable teachers to teach as well as they possibly can there are a number of key issues we need to address.

“Our system is increasingly fragmented in terms of institutions and qualifications; the accountability system continues to suppress rather than unleash the creative energy of teachers; we’re still not addressing some of the fundamental causes of underachievement and as applications for headships decline in number we’re facing a leadership recruitment crisis.”

The manifesto calls for qualified teacher status to be mandatory, echoing current Labour party policy, and adds that the blueprint for the College of Teaching should be implemented in full and be compulsory for all teachers.

The document also recommends introducing a new National Baccalaureate that would encompass both technical and academic learning, and calls for the Ebac to be dropped as it will be “redundant” following the recent changes to GCSE performance measures, namely the introduction of Progress 8.

An overhaul of how Ofsted works was also put forward, which would see the watchdog’s resources focused on schools deemed “inadequate” and “requiring improvement”.

The group suggested a National Recruitment Fund be established in a bid to create more targeted funding to help attract the best headteachers, teachers and particularly maths teachers in the areas with the highest deprivation.

John Tomsett, headteacher at the Huntington School in York and a member of the roundtable, told TES the document represented policy generated from the profession.

“We felt that the experience of 11 headteachers should be brought to bear when it came to shaping education policy ahead of the next election. A great deal of this manifesto was done from the bottom up, we took suggestions from the profession to allow them to shape something,” Mr Tomsett said.

The entire manifesto is available here

For more from the authors of the manifesto, see this Friday's TES. 

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