Saturday, 11 January 2014

Can CIPS licence learn from Labour's Licence to Teach

The Shadow Education Secretary has an aspiration for the introduction of a 'licence to practice' for all
teachers. The idea is that teachers would have their lessons peers-assessed and have to demonstrate they are up to date with the latest material. The peer assessment would then lead to licensing which in turn would require re-licencing every five years.

It would be the responsibility of the employers (schools) to provide the training but for teachers to make use of it. Fail to gain the licence and the teacher is 'struck-off' and banned from teaching - perhaps a bit strange in those situations where there is a shortage of teachers anyway. There are no suggestions as to what would happen if so many teachers are 'struck-off' that schools can no longer provide education, equally no suggestions as to how JobCentres would handle 'struck-off' teachers. There is some suggestion that the unions aren't happy with the proposals which may itself lead CIPS (our union, I suppose) to ask why?

I'm sure many see the advocating of a Licence to Teach as justification for the introduction of the proposed CIPS licence which I have previously discussed. Perhaps CIPS may even be considering this a part of their recommendations for the next government.

However, it is worth considering some aspects of the proposed Licence to Teach:

  1. The proposal has two sides to the agreement: one of which is that it becomes the employers responsibility to provide the training. I would be absolutely delighted if all employers who adopt the CIPS Licence were also required to give a commitment that they would provide the appropriate training, but not if the training had to be provided by CIPS as that would constitute a conflict of interest. 
  2. The suggestion is that teachers are subjected to a peer-assessment - who will assess the peers and on what basis will they be deemed qualified to assess? We are all familiar with the criticisms of the Care Quality Commission's approach to QA in the NHS. But in procurement, would a practitioner necessarily understand the current leading edge procurement research of academics; would an academic understand the nuances of practice? There needs to be care exercised lest a new business emerges for the former 'great and the good' of procurement who have lost contact with the real world.
  3. If the assumption is that peer-assessment is within teaching categories, for example, primary OR secondary, or within subjects, would such an approach apply with CIPS Licence? If so, could this lead to further sector entrapment where, for example, those within public and private sectors encounter greater barriers to moving to the other sector, or even within 'categories of spend'?
I have previously questioned CIPS strategic approach to the Licence, perhaps considering some of the above may help with the tactical questions.

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