Thoughts on Tristram Hunt’s Teacher Oath Idea

The problem with the teacher oath idea is that we have very few agreed values in teaching. We are still arguing about what constitutes a quality education. Of course, we can all agree that we want the best for kids, and want them to be safe etc. But if we reduced the oath to the few things we all agree on, it would become so vague and general that it might as well not exist at all.

If the oath had more specific requirements, the worry would be that some teachers wouldn’t agree with them. A bit like agreeing to obey your husband in a wedding vow, if the oath contained stipulations that you strongly disagreed with, that would make it very difficult to swear to. If your conscience wouldn’t allow you to take the oath would you then be banned from teaching?

I speak as someone who often disagrees with my own school’s view of what quality teaching is, this ongoing disagreement has had potentially career damaging effects for me. If their ideals of quality teaching were put in an oath, I wouldn’t be swearing on it.

UPDATE: Tristram Hunt has since tweeted the link to this post. What he thinks of what I said is unknown.



The above was written as a contribution to this piece from Edubag UK (

Please follow me on Twitter: @cazzypot

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