Teachers to join the elite!

That is such a nice thing for our future PM to say! It does of course reflect a hard core sentiment he holds, which is that teachers are not the elite. As a Conservative he knows that bankers are the elite – that is why they are paid so much in bonuses for sophisticated gambling – so sophisticated that nobody can figure it out until after the crisis hits. There was an excellent program on television about Obama’s first year showing what bankers did to cause each economic crisis in the last century.

Back to teachers. Last week I talked about schools closing because of the snow and the lack of ‘true grit’ in schools. I was told off for that – by my daughter, who is a teacher! The point is that we allow schools to follow an ageing model with lots of holidays including a long one in the summer. In fact I noticed that in private schools, such as the one our future PM attended, the holidays are even longer. But then at Eton they wear bizarre uniforms which went out of fashion about 100 years ago. Real visionaries!

Personally I think teachers are the elite, as are nurses, social workers and lots of other people we under value. I have been a school governor for about 7 years at two different schools and I can only admire the effort of our teachers. Imagine having to try to motivate, educate, control and encourage a group of about 30 kids with short attention spans, better things to do than being stuck in a classroom and far better at any technology the teacher has to use.

Imagine having to do all this and complete the piles of paperwork pushed their way by the tax sucking ‘elite’. Imagine the fact that they are forced to close schools because health and safety regulations will kill them if some poor child slips and falls. It is ok to do so when sledding, but not at school of course. After all, a kid could catch an education at school.

We all know by now that education is central to the future success of our nation, so teachers should be valued. That does not mean I think that school holidays are not too long, or school days should not be lengthened or even that teachers should be paid more. I do think teachers should be respected and valued and nourished. Really no different from any other valued employee. And what happens in business when the employee is no longer valued – the employee must move on. As a former boss of mine said, moving on is often a great learning opportunity.

So Mr Cameron, I will put your comment on your ever increasing pile of stupid comments. Teachers are the elite just as the entrepreneur should see the employees of his or her company as the elite. Treating them as the elite will get push them to achieve better results. Putting silly values on them like we seem to do with silly bankers leads to problems.

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  1. A series of blogs on behalf of our country's four point three million business owners and managers on

    I like this discussion, as I do see teachers as an elite and in fact I believe DC really looks down on them. The fact we pay doctors more than teachers does not mean I place them in a higher position than teachers.
    Most teachers do a good or excellent job, but of course, as with an profession, there is room for improvment and there are weak links. If we stopped blaming them for our own inabilities to bring up our children (with the exception of you and I of course) and valuing them for the great skills they bring, I think motivation will increase as will interest in the profession.
    In the meantime I continue my work as a governor despite best efforts of my council to destroy what is left of education here and my oldest daughter started her first job in teaching having just completed her masters in English and teaching.
    Elite yes – valued no – DC same.
    Thanks for the comment

  2. Dirk

    I think you’re making exactly the same mistake as David Cameron in the use of the word elite.

    I think what he was attempting to articulate (poorly) is that teaching is not considered a high status profession such as medicine, law or even these days accounting. You don’t see many people aspiring to be teachers or advising their children to become a teacher. In this sense, teaching isn’t considered “elite”.

    I wholeheartedly agree that teaching is a difficult profession that requires dedication, hard work, patience, tenacity and a range of skills I simply do not possess. Teachers should be valued, nurtured and developed but this isn’t the same thing as saying that their profession is elite.

    It’s interesting that “the market” hasn’t solved the problem of a generally low quality level of teachers. Teachers are paid considerably more than I, work fewer hours, have longer holidays, and have less training and education than is required for my job. Newly minted graduates can earn considerably more in teaching (and sooner) than in most graduate training programmes, yet the number of high quality applications to teaching has hardly been affected. Why?

    Ultimately I think Mr Cameron is correct. Teaching needs to be made into a “status” profession, which is an incredibly difficult task. I’m not sure how it could be achieved and I wouldn’t make it central to any education policy if I were in government.

    On a related matter, I also think it’s right that higher standards should be introduced for PGCE programmes. Why are we allowing people who got a third from a poor quality programme into the teaching profession? If you want to make it an elite/status profession then you need to raise the standards so that only the best can be teachers! The government should only be paying for the very best graduates to be trained as teachers.