Teachers TV scrapped
15 Oct 2010
The Teachers TV channel is to be terminated by the government from April 2011. The channel, which provides on-line videos covering professional development, has been going since 2005, when it was set up by the last government.
Ministers have used a six-month termination clause in the contract, which was due to run until 2013. The channel is fully-funded by the government, although it has editorial independence.
The channel has over 400,000 registered users and has some 4,000 programmes in its on-line vault. The programmes will continue to be made available on-line.
The channel cost about £10 million a year. It moved from being broadcast on digital platforms to being solely available on the Internet from July this year in order to save around £1 million a year.
Whilst I must admit my interest as someone who presents programmes for the channel (indeed I am in the middle of a new series right now), the decision seems very short-sighted. The channel is a huge resource of CPD for teachers. It is also a very cheap method for sharing innovative teaching ideas and for sharing good practice.
Watching videos, filmed in real classrooms, is a much cheaper (and greener) method of CPD than sending teachers on courses, with all the additional transport costs and the need for supply cover.
The channel was also attracting attention from abroad with other countries interested in replicating the model.
With the disappearance of the General Teaching Council for England and the QCDA (and a question-mark over the future of the National College), one wonders where this leaves Michael Gove's stated belief in the professionalism and autonomy of teachers. Or was he really being more revealing when he described teaching recently as a 'craft'?
This is a sad and unnecessary act of Luddism which will inhibit the spread of good teaching practice between fellow professionals.
The only hope is that someone can find a way of making the channel work as a subscription model or with funding from advertising.