Today the steps towards this are being undermined by those teachers insisting on strike action. Tonight's 10 o'clock news will feature picket-lines, marching workers and interviews with highly-paid union leaders out for a fight with the government. Images (which always shape the way a story is going) will show scruffily dressed pickets such as the picture below - hardly a clarion call for our best and brightest to join this profession:
Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of parents are being forced to stay at home today - some losing a days holiday or pay to do so - to look after their children. Teachers who want to work, some suggesting teaching large groups in school halls, have their hands tied through petty regulations.
Strikes do not work, often seen as irresponsible they turn people against a cause. Today those teachers taking strike action are doing much worse: they are undermining the reputation of teaching.