Leading London Headteacher calls for the teaching profession to self-regulate and resist ‘detrimental initiatives’

Joan Deslandes, a leading Headteacher at Kingsford Community School who has been named as one of London’s 1000 most influential people for her work in education by the Evening Standard three times, is calling for teachers to be empowered to self-regulate the teaching profession.

Lauding the current and previous governments’ dedication to the setting of rigorous teacher standards and raising the bar, she expressed her firm belief that the teaching profession was now at a point where it was able to govern itself, whilst raising concerns that social mobility had been hindered by ‘initiatives underpinned by political dogma’ rather than educational research.

With a career in teaching spanning 30 years, Ms Deslandes shared her insights at The Big Staff Meeting event with over 150 members of staff, where she rallied teachers to debate the College of Teaching, the new independent chartered professional body for the teaching profession.

Joan Deslandes, a Founding Trustee of the College of Teaching, said: “Education is a vital vehicle for social mobility and teaching. The engine of that vehicle should be run by the specialists. No matter what people may say, teaching is a specialism, and one that requires the expertise of teachers and education leaders in both the classroom as well as in policy making.

In recent years there has been a great deal of excellent research in education which has resulted in a pool of teaching talent that has never been greater. However, the politicisation of our profession over the decades has meant that, for too long, social mobility has been hindered by abortive ideological experiments. Under successive governments, innovations in teaching and learning have been introduced thick and fast. Some of these have benefitted both pupils and the profession greatly. However, these have at times come sandwiched between detrimental initiatives or supported by a selective reading of the evidence base.

“The move towards a self-regulating College of Teaching is testament to the work of governments in improving the profession to such a point that an organisation like this is now a viable, and I believe necessary step to take for the future success of education provision in this country.”

Ms Deslandes continued: “The wealth of teaching talent and educational know-how in the UK is substantial and yet we are seeing teachers leave the profession in droves. Retention of staff is key to ensuring that a British education remains highly prized. Implicit within this is maintaining teacher morale, something which it is abundantly clear cannot be achieved when policy can be devised and implemented independently of educational research and teacher expertise”.

“We are now at a stage where our country’s expertise in education supersedes the ideological constraints of party politics and in order to truly progress, teaching should be allowed to govern itself. It is time for change and I applaud the current administration for their understanding of the need to move towards a teacher-led education system and for recognising the huge potential of an independent College of Teaching.”

Teachers from Kingsford Community School have taken part in The Big Staff Meeting consultation to help determine the future membership of the College of Teaching. The College of Teaching is committed to improving the education of children and young people by working to enhance the status of teaching and recognise excellence. By giving teachers equality of status with other professions, the College will embody a deep commitment to supporting teacher development, advancing high professional standards and promoting evidence-informed practice.

The College will be independent of government and membership will be entirely voluntary. Teaching is a standout example of a major profession that has, to date, had no independent professional body. The absence of such a body has resulted in governments defining professional practice over the years, disempowering the profession and affecting the standing of teaching in society.

Teachers and schools in London, and across the country, can take part in The Big Staff Meeting by taking the survey in the lead up to February half term at www.research.net/r/N3L3KMC. Results from the consultation period will be made available from mid 2016.

Further information is available at: www.claimyourcollege.org/big-staff-meeting


For Further Information

For further information, please contact Charlotte Hussey or Lisa Church on

chussey@consiliumcommunications.co.uk / 07881 365140 or lchurch@consiliumcommunications.co.uk / 0746 7945661.


Notes to Editors

About the Big Staff Meeting

  • The Big Staff Meeting calls on all teachers to put aside half an hour to help determine the future membership of the College of Teaching – the new independent chartered professional body for the teaching profession.
  • Teachers are being encouraged to submit their feedback to membership questions via research.net/r/N3L3KMC, an online survey hosted by The Education Company on behalf of the Claim Your College coalition.
  • All supporting documents (The Big Staff Meeting pack, downloadable poster, short PowerPoint and advice for organisers) can be downloaded from claimyourcollege.org/big-staff-meeting.
  • All feedback will be fed in to the national membership consultation, which will close at the end of February.
  • Results from the national membership consultation period will be made available from mid 2016.


About the College of Teaching and Claim Your College campaign

  • The College of Teaching aims to give teachers equality of status with other professions by advancing high standards, recognising excellence and promoting evidence-based practice and policy. It will not have a regulatory role, will be independent of government and membership will be entirely voluntary.
  • The Claim Your College coalition was originally initiated by the existing College of Teachers, The Prince’s Teaching Institute, the Teacher Development Trust and the SSAT in collaboration with practising teachers and school leaders.
  • The work of the Claim Your College coalition builds on a Blueprint for a new College of Teaching, which was published by The Prince’s Teaching Institute in February 2014. The Blueprint resulted from a commission led by The Prince’s Teaching Institute and was informed by two 2012 publications: Towards a Royal College of Teaching (RCS) and Great Teachers: attracting and retaining the best (Education Select Committee, May 2012).
  • Claim Your College is backed by a 400-strong coalition. This includes a wide range of organisations and individuals from across the education sector including unions, subject associations, schools, practising teachers, school improvement and leadership organisations and third sector organisations.
  • There are numerous benefits of joining a College of Teaching when membership is open, from being accredited against valid, portable, respected, sector-led standards; gaining access to a career pathway that informs high-quality professional development and learning and building a validated portfolio documenting professional impact based on classroom experience.
  • Members would sign up to a common code of practice that reflects aspirational standards of teaching, an evidence-informed approach to practice, ethical behaviour, promotion of the profession and the best possible opportunities for learners.
  • To find out more about Claim Your College, visit claimyourcollege.org.
  • Follow Claim Your College @CollOfTeaching #CollegeOfTeaching #ClaimYourCollege.
  • Like Claim Your College on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/claimyourcollege.
  • Pledge to support the College of Teaching at https://claimyourcollege.hubbub.net/