Dame Alison Peacock is a Trustee of The Open Futures Trust and is CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching, a new organisation that opened to members on 18th January.
Open Futures: Congratulations on your new role as CEO of the Chartered College of Teaching. What is its role and what can teachers expect from it?
Alison Peacock: The Chartered College as an organisation will give the profession a voice; and will allow teachers to feel increasingly connected with one another through the Sector’s first professional Chartered body. Teachers will have access to research via a bank of over 2000 journals which will be managed by the College’s Director of Research; and they will be kept up to date and informed about events and CPD going on in and around their area through a number of organisations – including Open Futures. The College will essentially provide a platform for good practice and research.
OF: The aim of the Chartered College is to support teachers to gain the expertise that they need to maintain excellence; achieving the best outcomes for children and young people. How can Open Futures best support this vision?
AP: The work of Open Futures has been very interesting to follow, since its inception, through to the introduction of P4C [Philsophy for children] within the model. It has always represented an effective means of encouraging dialogue, and this remains relevant.
Open Futures’ research findings have also been interesting, in demonstrating that the interests of children of young people remain at the heart of its broader vision. Open Futures’ practical approach, through the medium of such things as horticulture and nutrition demonstrates the importance of both ‘body and mind.’
OF: As a trustee of Open Futures, what priorities do you think we need to consider in order to meet the new standards of excellence as we develop our programme further?
AP: It is very important that people do not consider Open Futures as a bolt on but that it follows the fundamental principles of teaching and learning, and allows children to engage with their learning, through a broad spectrum of activities. Open Futures is not a frill but truly encapsulates the means to be a ‘good learner’.
Teachers are always keen to understand what children do, how they behave in the classroom, and how they can tap into the key to unlocking success. Open Futures should continue to show how its approach supports positive outcomes and ensure that this message is shared.
The role of the Chartered College will be to support good practice and will support organisations who can demonstrate just that.
OF: How would you encourage our schools to become more engaged with their Professional Development in order to take advantage of the new standards?
AP: Professional learning is at the centre of what the Chartered College and Open Futures seek to do; creating opportunities for greater expertise and greater learning. Anything which seeks to promote Professional Development is welcome.
The Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, has already endorsed both the work of Open Futures, and the work of the Chartered College of Teaching. Professional development for teachers is therefore on the landscape and is important. Membership of the organisation has already been brisk and all teachers are encouraged to join and take part.
OF: Drawing on your time as a headteacher, what would your advice be to teachers and school leaders looking to develop their school’s curriculum and pedagogy?
AP: Teachers are interested in what is really going on and what the wider opportunities are. Teachers should consider what is fundamentally exciting and impactful, whilst considering their teaching environment. They should adopt a curriculum that the teacher enjoys teaching. Successful teachers are those who have embraced this ethos.
OF: What would you say has been the highlight of your career in education and what are your hopes for the future?
AP: I have been very fortunate to have had a career in Education. For me, the highlight will always be watching the moment a colleague succeeds in something for which you might have been able to support but do not take credit. It gives me a real sense of delight to see others really flourishing and has been a privilege to see others succeed.
Personally, my biggest challenge going forward will be the new venture of taking forward the Professional body – there is a lot of work to do!
The first Chartered College Conference will be taking place on 16th February, is free for members to attend and will be attended by the Secretary for State, who will be giving an address.
To find out more about the college including how to join click here.