Schools

‘Revalidate’ teachers every 5 years, education commission says

Times Education Commission says scheme should be similar to fitness to practice checks for doctors

Times Education Commission says scheme should be similar to fitness to practice checks for doctors

Teachers should be “revalidated” every five years to make sure they have completed the required professional development to make the profession “more intellectually engaging”, a report has suggested.

The Times Education Commission has published its 96-page report today, finding the British education system is “failing on every measure”. After a year long inquiry, it has made 12 recommendations to ministers (see below).

The 22 commissioners included Geoff Barton, general secretary of school leaders’ union ASCL, Lucy Heller, chief executive of Ark, and Kiran Gill, founder of The Difference. 

One recommendation is that professional development should be “backed by revalidation every five years by a beefed-up Chartered College of Teachers”.

They say this would “mirror” the certification process for doctors run by the General Medical Council and “put an emphasis on excellence while ensuring that all teachers were up to date with new technology as well as developments in neuroscience and pedagogy”.

At the GMC, revalidation is based on a recommendation every five years by a designated officer on whether a doctor is still fit to practice. The council can decide to revalidate, defer or withdraw the licence.

The Times told Schools Week they were not suggesting teachers would have to reapply for their jobs. But there “should be an expectation that they will continue with their professional development”, a spokesperson added.

The commission said “the status of the teaching profession in this country should be raised and the job made more intellectually engaging”. 

Peacock

However, the CCT told Schools Week it did not suggest the idea to the commission.

Dame Alison Peacock, CCT’s CEO, said access to training “should not be forced”, adding: “It cannot become a series of hoops teachers must jump through when already so much is expected of them. It needs to be voluntary.

“Teachers need to be trusted to do what they feel is right for their children and that they are empowered to make a difference.”

Sara Tanton, ASCL’s deputy director of policy, said they have “concerns” about the revalidation suggestion as it is a “huge undertaking and would need to be handled very carefully”.

New ‘consultant teachers’ role

The commission also calls for a new category of “consultant teachers” so staff “can work towards promotion within the classroom, rather than having to move into management”. 

The Times said this would be a “new title classroom teachers could work towards as an alternative progression route to management”.

It pointed out trusts like Harris which already employ 60 specialist subject consultants who work across all schools on professional development.

Ofsted should also be reformed to feel less like a “big stick” and more like a “helping hand”. Schools should get “report cards” and inspections could be planned in advance.

Ofsted should also focus on assessing pupil wellbeing, the quality of enrichment activities, teacher morale and attendance and inclusion, it added.

The Times will also review its own school league tables to see how it can reflect a “wider definition of success”.

There is no overall cost for the commission’s proposals. They estimate a new “elective premium” to fund extracurricular activities – one part of the report – could cost up to £215 million. 

The commission also calls for a laptop or tablet for every child and a “greater use of artificial intelligence in schools” to “personalise learning, reduce teacher workload and prepare young people better for future employment”. 

A Department for Education spokesperson said they “always welcome new ideas and views from the sector and education experts”. 

The recommendations: 

  1. A British Baccalaureate offering “broader” academic and vocational qualifications at 18 and a “slimmed-down” set of exams at 16. It sounds similar to proposals by the National Baccalaureate Trust.
  2. An “electives premium” for all schools to be spent on activities such as drama, music, dance and sport. This would also include a National Citizen’s Service “experience” for every pupil. 
  3. New “career academies” which would be “elite technical and vocational sixth forms with close links to industry”. However, these sound similar to university technical colleges, several of which have struggled in recent years.
  4. A unique pupil number from birth for each child and a library in every primary school. 
  5. An “army” of undergraduate tutors earning credit towards their degrees
  6. A laptop or tablet for every child and greater use of AI in schools, colleges and universities 
  7. A counsellor in every school and an “annual wellbeing survey of pupils”. Government has so far rejected MPs’ calls for all students to undergo a mental health assessment 
  8. Better “career development” and revalidation every five years for teachers, alongside a new category of consultant teachers and a teaching apprenticeship
  9. A reformed Ofsted with a wider “school report card” with metrics such as wellbeing, school culture, inclusion and attendance
  10. “Better training” for teachers to identify children with special educational needs with a greater focus on inclusion. 
  11. New university campuses in fifth higher education “cold-spots” 
  12. A 15-year strategy for education drawn up in consultation


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15 Comments

  1. Alex Moore

    Sounds like we are going round in circles. We used to have General Teachers Council and positions in schools for teachers with advanced skills to stay in the classroom and share good practice. Really it is time for “experts” to stop re inventing the wheel and consult with the Education Unions who have a have more experience.

  2. Broken by b**ls**t

    A number of recycled ideas scrapped post 2010 due to cuts. Then some additional bad ideas. Then some initiatives, that a government who couldn’t care less about state education; would ever fund. I would suggest a ban on the use of the word pedagogy to start with.

  3. Alexander

    Some old ideas here worth reviving, some depressingly familiar, suggesting that several previous strategies to achieve the same, such as promotion without leaving the classroom, have failed.

    Perhaps it wasn’t in the groups remit, but I note no recommendations about the reform of governance.

  4. Susan Catherine Hampson

    Pay us accordingly and stop dumping all of this generation’s problems at our feet. Teachers are leaving every sector of education in droves…look to fixing that first.

  5. Trevolene James

    Don’t they think that teachers have enough pressure as it is? What with regular inservice training, weekly staff training and classroom observations.

  6. Sue Duke

    No mention of the NMC. I am a Nurse and Midwife we have to revalidate every 3 years and pay an annual fee to remain on the register which must be paid or you cannot practice!! This has always been a great source of irritation when working long hours under pressure to meet targets and constantly being asked to do more and more training. We are also falling foul of so called experts with bright ideas that get resurrected, renamed and reimplemented implemented only to fail again. We have an abundance of people in suits who speak management jargon and have no real idea or interest in bettering services. only interested in short term solutions to progress their own careers.

  7. Totally agree with other readers. Lots of good, old ideas in here, but God please no more checking up, we’re constantly ‘revalidated’ the medical profession might have autonomy, but we’re observed and monitored to death already. Sounds like another way to take funds from the chalkface to bolster an ailing agency full of people no longer competent on the front line.

  8. As a teacher in Ohio for over 30 years we were required to take classes to be able to renew our contracts. Good teachers will keep themselves updated in their field regardless what the state mandates because they enjoy what they teach. But be warned, everytime more rules, laws, and mandates for schools and teachers is added only decreases those that go into education. Look at restaurant workers after the pandemic. Some positions pay almost double what was paid 2 years ago, it just became not worth the money. Less students have an Education major anymore and more never go into the field. States better streamline expectations or in 5 years there won’t be enough teachers to open schools.

  9. Brian

    “Revalidate every 5 years”… Like we do in Scotland already?
    Fair enough, as it filters out those teachers who become stale and “babysit” until retirement It ensures we demonstrate continuing professional development and remain current.

    • Steven Turner

      Please remind me of Scotland’s place in the league table of countries education levels so I have some context to judge your comment about stale (experienced) teachers who babysit (educate some really badly behaved children) until they leave school.
      Are you a teacher?
      Or
      Are you SLT?
      Or
      Are you in the Scottish Government?

  10. Steven Turner

    Where there any representation from front line teachers on this Panel? Or just School Leaders.
    We already have compulsory insets, after school ‘optional training’, SLT are able to pop into our lessons without warning to guage the teaching and the compulsory student exercise book examinations
    Teachers are already the most looked at, examined and tested group of employees. Not to mention that they are also graded just as much as the students are by the GCSE and A Level results.
    If you want to make it even more difficult to recruit and retain teachers than it is already this is the right way of doing it.