Licensed... Licensed to teach!

Licensed to teach

Shadow Education Secretary Tristan Hunt's announcement last week left many teachers shaken rather than stirred by the idea that as part of proposed Labour Policy they would be subject to periodic licensing in order to continue in the profession.

It attracted predictable headlines....

Times Front Page

It doesn't need someone of Q's intelligence (that's the last 007 reference, I promise) to work out that great teaching is the best way to improve students' success at school. The focus on high quality teaching, supported by high quality professional development to support - which has got lost in these unhelpful headlines - it is therefore to be welcomed. As Brian Lightman, a former Headteacher and highly respected General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders succinctly put it:

'We need highly qualified teachers who are accessing training and improving their practice throughout their careers.'

However, I'm not currently convinced that we need another layer of bureaucracy to achieve this. Certainly not at Park House, anyway.

That's because I'm confident about two things that we already do to consistently check and ensure that teaching is of the highest quality.

1. Set teachers challenging performance management objectives on an annual basis

2. Offer a planned Programme of regular and high quality professional development related to those objectives

Each teacher at Park House has three annual objectives against which performance is monitored and measured. The first of those objectives in every case relates to the progress of the students that they teach; the second to quality of teaching in relation to that progress; the third is linked to professional development - training - to support and develop high performance.

Investment in great training for teachers is already central to continuous school improvement at Park House. And its therefore worth saying something about what this looks like 'behind the scenes'.

Regular and sustained opportunities for dialogue about what makes brilliant learning are crucial, and that's the main reason why we changed the structure of the school day back in September to allow staff to meet together in departments, wider groups and sometimes as a whole once a week on Monday afternoons to share best practice.

In addition to these weekly training sessions, every member of staff is on an individual professional development journey, based on their objectives and aspirations. It literally is a journey, with their 'routes' set out as the London Tube Map!

Professional development

That's why I'm confident that, at Park House, staff really are already very well and very regularly (ok, one more) licensed... licensed to teach!