Press release

New measures to support a world-class teaching profession

Plans for a new independent college of teaching and improved professional development unveiled.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Teacher in a classroom

Plans to support the set-up of a new, independent, professional body to represent and champion high standards in the teaching profession have been announced today (9 December 2014) by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and Schools Minister David Laws.

This country already has world-class teachers, who are driving up standards in our schools and helping prepare every child - regardless of their background - for life in modern Britain. But the coalition government is committed to helping teachers improve even further.

A strong teaching profession that takes increasing responsibility for its own development and improvement is at the heart of the government’s plan for education. The creation of a new professional body, led and owned by teachers themselves without interference from the government, will help to achieve that vision and ensure teachers continue to be recognised as valued professionals, bolster the professional status of teaching, and support the profession to grow and learn.

The package of measures published today for consultation aims to put the teaching profession in England on a par with the best in the world by:

  • supporting the creation of a new, independent, professional body for teaching - a college of teaching - that will give the profession greater responsibility over things like professional standards and development, placing teaching on an equal footing with high-status professions like law and medicine
  • establishing a new fund to support more high-quality, evidence-based professional development programmes - designed and delivered by a network of more than 600 leading teaching schools, working in partnership with others to spread the findings of their work across the teaching profession

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

We all know the difference a great teacher can make to the life of a child, and we’re fortunate to have the most highly qualified teaching profession ever, with more graduates from top universities choosing teaching than ever before.

Now we want to do more to recognise and reward them by supporting the profession as whole, through a new college of teaching and the kind of high-quality professional development opportunities that teachers and school leaders have long argued for.

We want to work with the profession to raise standards even further because there can be no more important job than being a teacher. They are a crucial part of our plan for education and vital to the success of our long-term economic plan, as they prepare the next generation of pupils for life in modern Britain.

Schools Minister David Laws said:

Ensuring we have excellent teachers in every classroom inspiring pupils to achieve their full potential is key to building a stronger economy and a fairer society.

Teachers are the single most important resource in our schools. Teaching should and must be on an equal footing with other high-status professions like law and medicine.

We already have world-class teachers doing amazing work up and down the country. But we want to support them further. We will raise the status of teaching by supporting a new college of teaching and ensuring teachers have access to high-quality development programmes throughout their careers, backed up by rigorous evidence and evaluation.

The government is proposing a number of ways in which it might play a role in supporting the initial set-up of a college of teaching while guaranteeing its long-term independence. This could include providing start-up funding as well as non-financial support while the new organisation beds in.

Over time it is expected that the new body might take on greater responsibility for areas such as professional standards and continuous professional development, moving stewardship of the profession out of the hands of the government and to the profession. As part of the consultation process the government is inviting expressions of interest from organisations interested in establishing the college.

The plans outlined today will build on work the government has already undertaken to support the teaching profession, including:

  • taking decisive action to reduce teacher workload and bureaucracy in schools
  • allowing heads to recognise and reward excellent teachers through reforms to the pay system
  • encouraging greater collaboration amongst schools to drive up standards

Notes to editors

  1. The consultation: ‘A world-class teaching profession’ will be open until 3 February 2015.

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Published 9 December 2014