Back to basics allows entire sector to blossom

September 22, 2000

For over a century, teachers have been campaigning for a professional body. Now they have one, with the launch this week of the General Teaching Council (page 7).

If the GTC can restore teaching as a job that brings status, the implications will be enormous. Improved teachers will mean improved schools. The circular arguments on access and aspirations will be severed as schools produce motivated pupils from all backgrounds. In turn, universities will be able to focus on producing top-quality graduates, instead of teaching basic maths or English as many complain they currently have to. And as the status of teaching improves in schools, so it will in further and higher education.

Further education looks set to get some sort of professional body, and in higher education the Institute for Learning and Teaching is already at work. And, for all its faults, the assessment of teaching in higher education has raised its profile. Could university teaching become a job of choice and no longer the poor cousin of research in universities?

David Puttnam and Carol Adams see the creation of the GTC as a turning point for the teaching profession. It would be wonderful for schools and far beyond if they are proved to be right.

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