Teachers Rule OK

Richard Willis describes the long struggle to get teachers their own professional organisation.

The campaign for the self-government of teachers in England and Wales was initiated in the mid-nineteenth century. The aim was to establish a professional body for teachers on the lines of the General Medical Council and the Law Society, to drive out the unqualified and to protect children against untrustworthy teachers. In recent years the government has responded, and the General Teaching Council begins work this month. This promises to give teachers important powers over registration and professional conduct as well as the duty to represent the interests of the teaching profession. Considring previous attempts by teachers to secure professional autonomy, however, the Council's path ahead could well be fraught with conflict.

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