‘It’s time teachers united in saying “Enough!”‘

Arise, Sir Andrew Carter. Knight of the realm for services to education. Headteacher, since 1988, of South Farnham Junior School – a success story that involves quadrupling the number of pupils on roll in that period, becoming one of the country’s first teaching schools, supporting 30 or more other struggling institutions and being the lead author of the Carter Review of Initial Teacher Training. JL Dutaut, teacher of politics and citizenship writes in Tes

On receiving his knighthood in 2014, he said: “If your school is doing well, you should make a wider contribution.”

True to form, Sir Andrew’s contribution to the discussion around teacher training last week was a bold one. Using his platform at the Academies Show to speak on the subject of funding and CPD, his recommendation is that schools who are struggling to pay for their teachers’ professional development should charge parents £1 a week to cover the costs.

Just £1 a week doesn’t sound like much – £39 pounds a school year. That’s less than a Netflix subscription. And we know we’re worth more to children and families than a Netflix subscription. Of that, we are in no doubt. And yet…

For better-off families, it isn’t a choice between Netflix and well-trained teachers, but for poorer families, it will be. Regardless of your view of the relative value of a TV subscription and a trained classroom professional, it is inherently unjust to present some with a sacrifice others will not have to make.

And that sacrifice –  given, in any case, that the question is not really about Netflix when we live in a country where many have to choose between heating or eating, and many feed their children at the expense of their own sustenance – it is absolutely, unquestionably predictable that schools in the poorest catchments will raise the least money by appealing to parents.

As teachers, to top it off, accepting Sir Andrew’s latest folly means accepting that that by the contingency of which school we work for, someone’s CPD will suffer. If not yours, mine. If not mine, yours. We can’t all work in South Farnham, after all.

Read the full article ‘It’s time teachers united in saying “Enough!”‘

What do you think? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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