The Chartered College of Teaching: An update

Written by: Dame Alison Peacock | Published:
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The Chartered College of Teaching is now open and is recruiting its founding members. As such, we invited chief executive Dame Alison Peacock to explain the work of the college, including how it plans to support teachers’ CPD and spread best practice

In January of this year, the Chartered College of Teaching – a new teacher-led professional body for teachers – opened its doors to members.

The Chartered College of Teaching is the result of a number of organisations working together, including the Prince’s Teaching Institute and the Claim Your College campaign, to develop a recognised professional body for the teaching profession.

In 2016, the Department for Education (DfE) agreed to provide a total of £5 million over four years to help the Chartered College establish itself. The intention is that, in the long-term, the Chartered College will be funded by membership subscriptions and its own charitable activities.

The Chartered College succeeds the College of Teachers, which previously held the Royal Charter for the teaching profession.

I took up the full-time post of inaugural chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching in January and two weeks in, launched the Chartered College and invited teachers to join as founding members.

By joining as a founding member, teachers and school leaders have the opportunity to grow this seedling organisation into a professional body they are proud to be part of and which will claim a leading role in shaping the future of teaching.

Listening to teacher voice

As a new organisation, there is much to do. Membership of the Chartered College is entirely voluntary. To make it work, the organisation has to be driven by its members and their aspirations.

When I was appointed as CEO-designate in August 2016, I wanted to gain the views of teachers on how the Chartered College could be profession-led and meet their needs.

Last autumn, the Chartered College hosted a series of focus groups with teachers representing the diverse range of educational settings including early years, primary, middle, secondary, pupil referral units, independent, special schools and further education.

Two independent researchers, Dr Dennis Guiney, an educational psychologist, and Dr Tim O’Brien, visiting fellow in psychology and human development at UCL Institute of Education, designed and conducted the study.

The aim of the focus group sessions was to identify teachers’ views on what the Chartered College of Teaching could do for the teaching profession, how it can make a difference to teaching and learning, and the value of Chartered Teacher status. This invaluable feedback contributed to the Chartered College’s wider consultation process that has, to date, involved more than 15,000 teachers. The focus group events highlighted key issues that teachers want the Chartered College to work on with them, including:

  • Supporting and enhancing teacher professionalism.
  • Offering access to high-quality research.
  • Demonstrating credibility and sustainability.
  • Facilitating the sharing of practice.
  • Teacher wellbeing.
  • Representing and amplifying teacher voice.

A central role for CPD

A key element of the Chartered College’s mission is to focus on teachers’ professional development and provide professional learning pathways for career enhancement.

This aligns with the DfE’s Standards for Teachers’ Professional Development (2016), which set out the expectations for keeping knowledge and skills up-to-date, and emphasises the importance of reflection and understanding for increasing the effectiveness of teaching and learning.

Chartered College membership will offer a pathway of professional development to support teachers at every stage of their career. This will be achieved via the Chartered College’s knowledge platform, providing access to the latest research, case studies, articles and good practice which comes online in early summer. It will also be integral to the Chartered Teacher programme to be launched in the autumn 2017.

When new members join the Chartered College, one of the immediate benefits they receive is online access to more than 2,000 journals, comprising a broad range of high-quality, up-to-date research covering all aspects of education.

As part of the Chartered College’s mission of bridging research and practice to support an evidence-informed teaching profession, members can bolster their professional development by using evidence and theory to inform and develop their individual teaching practice, which in turn will empower the UK teaching profession.

Accessible research

Teachers need access to a broad range of skills and knowledge that can be adapted and fine-tuned to meet widely varying education contexts and pupil needs. This professional repertoire has to be informed by a body of rigorous, high-quality research and evidence rather than based on taken-for-granted assumptions, routines and habits. It is also vital that the teaching profession claims ownership of translating research findings into practice rather than allowing those outside the classroom to do so on their behalf.

There has already been debate about whether busy teachers have the time (and indeed the motivation) to search through the mountain of research, the skills to critically evaluate it and the means to identify ways to make use of it in their teaching. Crucially, will it help change classroom practice for the better?

Teachers need to be able to access evidence – both to original research papers and through case studies and networking with other teachers to share practice and discuss ideas.

In the summer term, the Chartered College publishes its first edition of a new journal, circulating research and papers on key topics. Crucially, the Chartered College will also work with teachers, school leaders and academics to produce useful research summaries and provide support to develop the skills to interpret and interrogate research.

Membership of the Chartered College will connect the education community, presenting opportunities for collaboration, reflection and engagement on research that is useful in practice and has an impact on learners. There will be opportunities to test an approach in the classroom, or provide feedback from experience.

What next?

The first conferences for members were held in February and the Chartered College used these events to understand how members might engage with evidence and how the profession can work together.

In the coming months, the resources, collaborative opportunities and tools available to members will expand but, as it continues to grow, its members’ needs will remain at the heart of everything the Chartered College does.

In its first two months, the Chartered College signed up almost 3,000 members. Covering all phases of education and subject specialisms, we are already connecting a diverse community of teachers to share ideas and knowledge and provide an independent, authoritative voice for the teaching profession.

The long-term aim is for the Chartered College to grow and become the key destination for all teachers, providing opportunities to develop the evidence-informed expertise necessary to achieve and maintain genuine excellence – securing the best outcomes for children, young people and learners.

  • Dame Alison Peacock is chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching and former executive headteacher of The Wroxham School in Hertfordshire.

Further information

Founding membership and professional affiliate membership of the Chartered College of Teaching is available at an introductory offer of £39 for the first year. Visit https://chartered.college/


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