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Labour unveils teacher licensing plans to raise standards

13/01/2014 Kelly
Labour has announced plans for a new licensing system to help improve standards in the education sector.

According to shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, a regular re-licensing system would help the best teachers receive the highest level of training and professional development while identifying the worst-performing staff.

The licence would be renewed every few years, depending on the performance of the teacher. It could be issued by a new Royal College of Teaching.

"Just like lawyers and doctors they should have the same professional standing which means relicensing themselves, which means continued professional development, which means being the best possible they can be," Mr Hunt told the BBC.

"If you're not a motivated teacher - passionate about your subject, passionate about being in the classroom - then you shouldn't really be in this profession."

Ed Balls originally put forward plans for teacher licences in 2009 but the proposals were dropped before the 2010 election.

A Conservative spokesman said the party would look at any plans designed to raise teaching standards.

He insisted the coalition had already introduced measures to drive up standards, such as reducing the time limit on classroom observations and giving headteachers the powers to remove staff during a single term.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) showed tentative support for the proposals, insisting certain standards would have to be met.

It stated the licensing arrangements should come as part of a national pay framework and involve a contractual entitlement to continuing professional development. As in doctor's licences, which apply to both consultants and junior doctors, the licence would have to apply to heads as well as classroom teachers.

Any licence would have to apply to independent schools as well as state schools, it said.

The body lamented the fact that a debate about teaching standards tends to present those in teaching jobs in a negative light and to focus on the issue of getting rid of "incompetent" teachers.

Labour plans to discuss the details of its plan in consultation with teaching unions.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801681502-ADNFCR
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