Cameron pledges millions for a College of Teaching

20th March 2015 at 00:00
Prime minister wants to tackle profession's `Cinderella' status

David Cameron has announced a multi-million-pound grant to help establish a College of Teaching, in an effort to end the profession's "Cinderella" status.

Writing in this week's TES, the prime minister announces that the government will support the Claim Your College consortium in its endeavour to create a teacher-led royal college, giving the profession a similar status to medicine and law.

Back in December, education secretary Nicky Morgan and schools minister David Laws said the government would provide a proportion of the pound;11.9 million needed to establish the college by 2019. But supporters of the project have insisted that the institution should remain apolitical. Claim Your College stressed that any government cash should come on a "fire and forget" basis, with no strings attached.

As part of his pledge to provide funding, Mr Cameron gives assurances that the college would be "fully independent" of government, offering teaching "the sort of leadership that other professions have enjoyed for decades".

"Most importantly, it will be run by teachers, for teachers," the prime minister writes. "We will make a multi-million-pound grant to the new organisation to help it get off the ground, and do whatever else we can to back the college's development. Beyond that, we won't meddle."

Mr Cameron highlights that other professions are represented by professional bodies that set and maintain high standards of practice and lead the way in research.

"But for too long teaching was the Cinderella profession - every bit as deserving as the rest but too rarely seen or treated as the profession it is," he adds. "We are determined to give teachers all the respect and recognition they deserve."

Members would initially be expected to pay pound;70 a year for membership. Supporters believe the college would need nearly pound;12 million of seed funding in its first five years until enough teachers joined to make it financially viable.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL union and a member of the commission set up to broker the creation of a college, said government funds were essential.

"Provided the government is serious in what it says and it won't interfere - something the people working to create the college have always stressed if they were to accept government money - then it has to be welcomed," Dr Bousted said. "It was too big a venture to expect the market and private providers to stump up the cash, so it was always going to require pump-primed funding from the government."

Elsewhere in his piece, the prime minister describes teachers as "key allies" in the government's attempts to improve the education system - despite widespread opposition within the profession to many reforms.

Read David Cameron's comment piece


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