Nothing in schools matters more than good teaching, and we are proud to have so many dedicated professionals in our classrooms. An independent professional body could play a valuable part in raising the status and standards of teaching, and give teachers vital support. Our consultation, “A world-class teaching profession”, outlined our commitment to offer support to those seeking to establish such a body, independent of Government, and we will publish our response to the consultation shortly.
The Government’s offer of funding to help a college start up is welcome, but can the Secretary of State reassure me that it will come with no strings attached so that teachers themselves can drive what the college is, and that she will not seek to impose things such as teacher licensing schemes top-down, before this fledgling college has even left the nest?
If my hon. Friend knows anything about me she will know that I am not in favour of anything that is top-down, and I agree that the proposed body must be established and owned by teachers for teachers. To be successful, a college of teaching must be free from Government control. Our recent consultation made a commitment to offer support—whether financial or otherwise—if that would be helpful, but the independence of the college from Government remains our overriding concern and our support must not compromise that.