Commenting on the statement on licensing teachers by Tristram Hunt, Shadow Education Secretary, Chris Keates General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union,said:

“When this proposal was made by the last Government prior to 2010, it was in the context of a national framework of pay and conditions of service which recognised and rewarded teachers as highly skilled professionals and which provided them with rights and entitlements to working conditions which supported them in focusing on teaching and learning.

“In the last three years, at the hands of the Coalition Government, teachers have suffered a relentless assault on their pay, conditions of service and rights and entitlements. Their professionalism has been attacked and denigrated on an almost daily basis.

“If the proposal for a Licence to Practise signals a commitment by a future Labour Government to restore qualified teacher status (QTS) as a requirement for all teachers in state funded schools, to introduce, within a national framework of pay and conditions of service, a contractual entitlement for all teachers to continuing professional development and to re-establish a proper system of professional regulation which  ensures that all headteachers have QTS and NPQH and are accredited to lead and manage schools, then this is a basis on which progress could be made.

“These would be important preconditions to introducing a Licence to Practise.

“The NASUWT would also want to discuss with Labour the introduction of a licence to operate for those who aspire to run state funded schools.

“In medicine, doctors have a licence to practise, which is underpinned by clear professional standards and a contractual entitlement to CPD. It is supported by doctors and resonates with patients and the public, but the licence to practise medicine does not exist in isolation.

“As in medicine, a Licence to Practise in teaching should apply to headteachers and not just teachers, as it does to consultants as well as junior doctors.

“It should apply to state and independent schools as is the case for doctors who work in the private sector.

“It is deeply debilitating and demoralising for teachers that any attempt to have a public debate about developing the teaching profession and the quality of teaching  inevitably is hijacked by commentators and presented as a system to ‘root out incompetent teachers’ and present our public education system as failing.

“No group of workers, least of all teachers, deserves to be treated in this way. No wonder resignations from the profession are high and recruitment to teacher training is falling.”

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