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“The movement for a teaches’ council 1949-70, with special reference to the work of the main committee for the proposed teachers’ general council: an administrative and political study

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  • Economics
  • Education
  • Political Science


The teaching profession's wish for a measure of self-government is a long standing one. It arises from two major factors. Firstly, teachers have seen other professions acquire a measure of self-government and the prestige it confers. Secondly, teachers have accepted that one way to raise their professional and social status, and consequently their political and economic status, is by achieving some control over entry into the profession. After outlining the pre-1949 attempts to obtain self-government, and the reasons for failure of, and loss of interest in the movement, the purpose of the study is to describe the main movement for a Teaching Council during the period 1948–70 in its administrative and political context. The major sources of discontent with the status of the profession, which form the background to the development are analysed. The origin of the post-1944 revival of interest in a Teaching Council is traced. Special emphasis is given to the work of the Teachers' General Council Main Committee which was formed in 1960, and which helped to clarify and co-ordinate the ideas of the teachers' associations during this period. The inherent administrative and political problems in the events leading to the establishment of the Official Working Party by Mr. Short in 1969 are examined. The proposals of the Working Party, "A Teaching Council for England and Wales" are analysed, and the subsequent attitudes of the teachers' associations to the Report are described. It is concluded that the present proposals are likely to be shelved, and many administrative and political problems in the establishment of a Teaching Council still need further clarification. Nevertheless, the movement for a Teaching Council is likely to remain an issue in teacher politics.

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