Eight new ways to suck eggs

30th October 2009 at 00:00

Amazing. For years I've wandered around, wondering what I should be doing with these funny little people who inhabit the building I'm working in. And now, at last, I know.

I've just received the latest booklet from the General Teaching Council for England. And it has been very busy. It has evolved a revised code of conduct for teachers, and then carried out an important thing called an "equality impact assessment" of it. After a rigorous and searching investigation, it has concluded that the likely impact of the code is "positive". That's a relief, then.

The eight principles of the code are startling, and will come as a shock to many teachers. In case you haven't received your copy yet, reach for the tranquillisers and listen carefully. Here's what you are supposed to do.

Help children to become confident and successful learners So that's what the little people are meant to be doing? Learning. And I wouldn't mind betting we're supposed to be teaching them. Who'd have thought it?

Strive to establish productive partnerships with parents

Damn. I'll have to take down that sign saying "No Parents Past This Point" and let them into the building. A bit much really. Next we'll be asked to discuss their children's work with them and they'll be wanting to help their offspring at home. Could be a worrying trend.

Work as part of a whole-school team

And there was I thinking the idea was to fast-track up the promotion ladder and say, "I'm more important than you - I've got five people under me and I can swan around monitoring everyone else." And what about Miss Gradgrind's staffroom chair? She's laid claim to it for 50 years and the teachers enjoy getting to it first and irritating her. I suppose this means they'll have to talk to her now.

Put the well-being, development and progress of children first This is a bit much, isn't it? I won't be able to send Year 6 out to do my shopping. And I'll have to stop my rigorous targeting and tracking so that I've got time to talk to a child. How will I find the hours to spend with my school improvement partner, or prepare for Ofsted inspections if I'm supposed to consider the well-being of the children? And the self-evaluation form that I spend weeks compiling ... that'll have to go.

Co-operate with other professional colleagues

Oh, come on! This is going to ruin the battle to retain our league-table position, showing we're better than all the other schools. At this rate, they'll want us to talk to other schools and give away our methods of forcing children through level 4 hoops.

Demonstrate honesty and integrity and uphold public trust Look, all I did was use a bit of the school budget to buy a second-hand Porsche, and a Rolex and some gold cufflinks. But schools are businesses, aren't they? I need to look the part.

Take responsibility for maintaining the quality of their teaching practice Dear me. I suppose I'll have to let my teachers go on some courses. I don't encourage that kind of thing. Only leads to new ideas and demands on the budget. Can't see why they don't just repeat the same lessons year after year. After all, that's what teachers did when I was at school.

Demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality

You mean we're not all exactly the same? Well blow me down, I had no idea.

OK, you can pick yourselves up off the floor now. I know the code has been a revelation, but isn't it good to know the GTC is spending our #163;18 million so wisely?

Mike Kent is headteacher at Comber Grove Primary in Camberwell, south London. Email: mikejkent@aol.com.

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