National teaching service should deliver dedicated teachers, not ‘superheroes’

Things have turned upside down.

Too often, teachers and school leaders roll their eyes as ministers announce their latest idea. ‘Patronising’ is often the adjective of choice.

But not this week.

This week it’s some of the teachers (none of whom work in a rural or coastal schools – how would one get their soy latte when writing their Sunday column in Grimsby?!) who deserve that adjective.

As Nicky Morgan announced plans for a national teaching service, the keyboards started clicking.

Some likened the challenge to packing a kitchen with too many cooks or a lunar landing, some created endless straw men claiming it wouldn’t address issues it was never indented to (how will this address employment in these towns?).

Then to top it off, one TeachFirst alumnus began the process of undermining any volunteers for scheme by labelling them as ‘superheroes’ and ‘paratroopers’ when he knows first-hand how hard this impression is to overcome when you walk into the staff room for the first time.

My big secondary modern in the seaside town of Morecambe is on the up after some tough years. We’re improving the culture, we’re improving the structures, and we’re improving quality of teaching – yes it’s tough but we’re getting there.

What do we desperately need? Even more great people who are willing to grab hold of the rope and pull together in the same direction with the rest of the team.

That’s exactly what I hope the dedicated teachers who sign up to this ambitious scheme will provide. Bring your skill, humility and an appreciation of the glorious view.

No survival kit, lunar capsule or cape required.

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