Evidence Centre for Education needed, says former Pupil Premium Champion

Janet Downs's picture

This is Part Two of my posts about the Politics in Education Summit. Part One is here. Sir John Dunford, former National Pupil Premium Champion, argued for the formation of an Evidence Centre for Education (ECE). There was a need, he said, for a professional Education Officer in the Department for Education. This position would be similar to the role of the Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health and the Chief Veterinary Officer at DEFRA. The ECE would promote effective educational policies, mobilise action and communicate findings. Professor Angela McFarlane, Chief Executive Registrar at the College of Teachers, wanted teachers to become Chartered Teachers. Chartered Teacher status would be an enduring qualification to a recognised standard which would be attained by a valued pathway and increase teacher reputation. The College of Teachers has since launched the Big Staff Meeting which calls on schools to hold a short meeting on 6 January 2016 to discuss teachers’ views about the future direction of the College of Teachers and its call for teachers to be treated as professionals and set their own standards. John Bangs, chair of the OECD’s Trade Union Advisory Committee for Education, Training and Employment Policy, told delegates that teacher unions were not a threat but an opportunity. Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, described how announcements from school minister Nick Gibb actually undermined school autonomy and did not encourage it. It’s from this point that my notes got muddled and incoherent (the result of a yummy chicken stroganoff at lunch, I think). I see scribbles about reinstating Qualified Teacher Status via many routes if necessary, Ofsted needing radical reform, non-publication of a generic report into SCITT (school-centred initial teacher training) and the specifications for the new GCSEs coming into schools far too slowly showing lack of understanding from Ofqual about how schools prepare for exams. But I’ve no idea who said these things. I left after afternoon break (scones, jam and tea) so didn’t hear the later speakers. And I missed the panel discussion chaired by Schools Week editor Laura McInerney. Our Henry Stewart was on the panel.

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