In a thinly veiled attack on inter-union rivalry, the general secretary of the Association of University Teachers has called for the creation of a royal college to represent education professionals.
David Triesman says this is the only solution to the loss of status and authority in the teaching professions where bitterness and division have been rampant.
"I call for new talks on a new agenda shorn of bureaucratic preoccupations and back at the heart of professionalism," he told delegates at the AUT council meeting in Weston-Super-Mare. "I know that unless education professionals decide to shape their own destiny we will be left with more of the same thin gruel, the peerlessly ignorant and arrogant pundits with their tanks on our lawns," he said.
Comparing education to the medical profession Mr Triesman pointed out that not even Margaret Thatcher had managed to remove the authority of the chartered organisations which represented medics. An equivalent Royal College was needed in education, reporting to a General Teaching Council with powers similar to the General Medical Council.