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Poll: Teachers overwhelmingly reject idea of Hippocratic Oath for the profession

A snap poll suggests that teachers overwhelmingly reject the idea of members of the profession taking a Hippocratic-style oath at the start of their careers.

Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, today used the Sunday newspapers to float the idea, arguing that it would help build the esteem of the profession.

But the survey of more than 500 TES users this afternoon found that some 85 per cent of teachers believe that the idea is a bad one.

This result will prove a disappointment to Mr Hunt, who argued that the English education system should learn from countries where such an oath is taken, including high-flying Singapore, where he has recently been on a fact-finding mission.

The TES survey also encouraged respondents to suggest what such an oath might look like.

Overwhelmingly, suggestions raised the importance of pupils, while many remarked that the profession should vow to protect children from government policies.

"The duty to teach all students according to their need," writes one respondent. "The duty to reject the interference of government, inspectors and politicians when their policies and actions run contrary to the needs and interest of students."

This was echoed by another teacher: "I pledge to stand up for the interests of the children in my care and defend their right to a broad and balanced curriculum and to have their talents developed, regardless of pressure from government."
And a third put it even more simply: "Honesty, respect, hard work... All things we do already!"

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