It was only three weeks ago when I wrote about the continuous changes in our education system (How To Turn People Off Politics) and how those changes meet with political praise or objection depending on the party that is supporting change. I mentioned grade inflation but said that it applies to any form of change. Well two days ago the Labour Party proposed that teachers should be licensed. Why would Labour do this when they had thirteen years in government in which to implement such a change? Well they did try in 2009 when Ed Balls wanted "classroom MOTs". It was dropped partly because it was "pointless". The NUT called it "another unnecessary hurdle". However other teaching unions supported the move.
If a management directive supports and enhances the teaching profession then changes should be made. One teacher writes on the BBC website "I've worked with teachers delivering sub-standard lessons". If change is needed then this presupposes that the mechanism for reducing the amount of sub-standard teaching is not good enough but I have heard no mention of this mechanism. I have heard of teachers who are under pressure, and there are already mechanisms in place which check standards but cause a significant rise in that pressure. I don't hear teachers saying "isn't it good that we are being inspected as we will all be inspired to improve our level of teaching". I do see teachers who feel stress in such situations.
There will be teachers who do not teach to the required standard. There will be other teachers who may be good and complain about these teachers to the BBC. It would be interesting to know if these good teachers have gone through the appropriate channels and what happened as a result. These channels should not be seen as a threat but as a support but Labour's proposals just look like a threat. Labour is saying that there are unnamed bad teachers (could be anyone on an off day) and Labour wants to sack them because they can't be sacked now.
Licensing teachers may be a good thing but not if the teachers feel the same way about it as they do about inspections. As with most political discussions, there is no clear right and wrong, the split in the teaching unions clearly shows this, but we don't need any attacks on the teaching profession by the Labour Party.
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