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”.
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”.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A unique pupil number from birth for each child and a library in every primary school.
- An “army” of undergraduate tutors earning credit towards their degrees
- A laptop or tablet for every child and greater use of AI in schools, colleges and universities
- 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
- Better “career development” and revalidation every five years for teachers, alongside a new category of consultant teachers and a teaching apprenticeship
- A reformed Ofsted with a wider “school report card” with metrics such as wellbeing, school culture, inclusion and attendance
- “Better training” for teachers to identify children with special educational needs with a greater focus on inclusion.
- New university campuses in fifth higher education “cold-spots”
- A 15-year strategy for education drawn up in consultation