#TeacherOath

13 Oct

Over the weekend Tristram Hunt announced that Labour (in England) were looking at introducing a teachers oath.  You need only search #teacheroath on twitter to see how dismally this has been received by the profession.  This buzzfeed article highlighted some of the most damning responses. At a time when ideology is driving the Westminster Government’s agenda on education what the public at large, and the education sector in particular, want to see is a clear idea of how education will be run differently from an opposition.  It is about giving a clear choice when it comes to voting.  That this teacher oath is a flagship policy announcement just seven months away from an election is pretty depressing for teachers on that side of the devolution fence.

I am not really sure what Tristram Hunt believes introducing such an oath will achieve in increasing focus and commitment from teachers that we don’t already see on a day-to-day basis.  Does he believe an oath of this nature will spark an awakening that was not already there about the role of a teacher?

In Wales we are actually consulting at present on the code of conduct being established by the new Education Workforce Council that will set the expectations for teachers, and other sections of the education workforce, who are registered with that body.  In some senses that can be seen as an oath but the fact is I don’t know a single teacher that doesn’t start teaching with the commitment to improving children’s lives.  I doubt very much swearing an allegiance to Tristram Hunt will improve that?

If Tristram Hunt is looking for genuine ideas on how to help support teaching then he would do a lot worse than reading the NUT Westminster Election Manifesto. It is a document that is really gaining a lot of praise from teachers; academics and others in the education sector. It proposes some radical but very achievable steps to empowering learners and practitioners.  I’m pleased to say that while the 2015 election is not one where the decision makers in a Welsh context are up for election a Welsh version has been produced. Here the Manifesto looks at recommendations that can be made and sets the scene for change in the lead up to the Welsh election in 2016. A more in-depth Manifesto with specific policies will be produced for that election also.

Incidentally the reporting of this policy by the BBC has once again made me think they just do not get devolution.  I blogged during the exam results period about how network news in the UK treated England’s results as those for the whole of the UK.  The lack of recognition that Wales and Northern Ireland have different education systems and different results was staggering.  Here the BBC lumped the teacher oath policy in with UK news despite the fact that this is a devolved field and introducing a teachers oath, and indeed not doing so, is entirely within the gift of the Welsh Government.

BzvyScBIEAEkyT_

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