We catch up with the Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching, Dame Alison Peacock.

Tell us about your organisation.

I work for the Chartered College of Teaching.  We are the professional body for teachers in the UK and offer our members the chance to be celebrated, supported and connected.  We aim to raise the status of teaching and to provide colleagues with resources such as our peer-reviewed journal that supports evidence-informed practice. We are working to enable teachers and school leaders to achieve Chartered status supporting teachers from the very earliest days of teacher training throughout their career. We offer many articles, video stories and events via our website and you are able to join us here: www.chartered.college 


What is your role there?

As Chief Executive it is my role to lead our charity and to build its profile not only within education but also in wider society.  I attend regular meetings to advocate on behalf of teachers at the Department for Education as well as seeking to influence policy through presenting our research and members’ feedback in parliament.  I am the lead spokesperson for the College when liaising with the media, often quietly feeding information to key influencers.  The Chartered College is an independent, non-political charity that nevertheless is unafraid of speaking truth to power. 


What is your experience in the education sector?

I have spent my entire career working as a teacher and headteacher.  I have worked in both primary and secondary schools and have also worked for Hertfordshire advisory service.  I have also worked as an insider researcher with colleagues from the University of Cambridge and have published two books and many chapters and papers.  This engagement with research informed by practice led me to be inspired by the potential of the Chartered College of Teaching as a means to transform education.  Much of my work is informed by research into teaching without ability labelling ‘Learning without Limits’.


What do you love about your job?

I love my role at the Chartered College as I have the privilege of meeting many thousands of teachers each year.  I enjoy speaking at conferences and participating in educational events and debates.  I believe high quality professional learning is the key to retaining our teachers and enabling them to move beyond the drudgery of ‘compliance’ towards maintaining the joy of teaching.


What are the challenges of your job?

The main challenges of my job are about ensuring balance.  There are many viewpoints across our amazing profession and I try to represent this fairly and in a calm measured way! I am also impatient and would love every teacher to invest £3.75 a month and join us.  The greater our membership the more impactful the informed voice of the teacher can be.


How has the last year impacted your role?

The last year has been devastating and yet also really encouraging.  I have been so impressed with the way that teachers have responded to the huge challenge of moving all their work online or to remaining open in the case of special schools and early years settings, even though a deadly virus has been raging.  At the Chartered College all our colleagues are already based remotely both in this country and across Europe so we have moved all our meetings online and have responded as well as possible to the demands of members.


What is your advice to those in education at the moment?

Trust teachers and listen to what they are telling you.


Why do you feel it is important to support the work of The Teaching Awards?

I am a great supporter of The Teaching Awards as this gives everyone an opportunity to celebrate brilliant teachers.


Do you have a teacher that inspired you?

I didn’t actually enjoy school as a child.  I had some wonderful teachers but I always felt uncomfortable somehow. One of my key motivations for becoming a teacher myself was to put my children at ease.  I am continually inspired by colleagues and also by some of the children I have taught over the years. I honestly believe that teaching is the best possible profession.