How fares the 'New Professionalism' in schools? Findings from the 'State of the Nation' project

Storey, Anne (2009). How fares the 'New Professionalism' in schools? Findings from the 'State of the Nation' project. Curriculum Journal, 20(2) pp. 121–138.



In a series of policy documents over the past decade, the idea of a ‘New Professionalism’ for teachers has been constructed. It encompasses three core components: a national framework of professional standards, performance management and continuing professional development (CPD). The planned interplay of these components into a coherent whole has been at the heart of a re-framing of the teacher’s role. While much has been said about the vision in both positive and negative terms, few studies have provided empirical insight into the implementation and experience of this policy. Drawing upon the findings of a TDA-funded nationwide (England) research project, the extent to which these ideas and policies have been adopted in practice, and what implications these actual behaviours carry for the debate about new professionalism, are assessed.

A key finding was that while the Framework of Professional Standards and the structures of performance management processes were essentially in place, the third plinth of the New Professionalism, CPD, remains mainly as a bolt-on, pragmatically allocated and inconsistently, accessed in schools. As such, it is unable to bear the weight of what is required of I and claimed for it. The widespread failure to tackle the strategic dimension that links performance management to CPD, to engage in criterion-based evaluation of training or to identify appropriate development opportunities in the schools, each tended to obstruct the road to New Professionalism.

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