10 SES 11 D, ‘Professionalism’ and the Governance of Teacher Education across the British Isles
Within the United Kingdom education policy in England is particularly distinctive. Over several years the state has deliberately challenged the post-war settlement between the central state, local government and teachers. Reforms have promoted the market-based provision of schooling, whilst new private and ‘third sector’ organisations have emerged as significant actors across the system. Central to the restructuring of English state education has been an effort to refashion what Connell (2009) describes as the ‘good teacher’, linked in turn to a reconfigured concept of teacher professionalism. For example, government policy has emphasised the central importance of ‘quality teaching’ but claims this is best achieved by locating teacher education in schools and removing the requirements for a professional teaching qualification. ‘Good performance’ is then ensured through an appraisal process based on targets, observations and merit pay whilst so-called poor performance is met with capability procedures and the possibility of dismissal. This paper analyses recent policy documents relating to teacher education and the work of teachers. It looks critically at the notion of the ‘good teacher’ they contain and seeks to identify the vision of teacher professionalism that is articulated within and through policy.
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