Unqualified teacher plan riles expert
The Government’s decision to allow academy schools to hire unqualified teachers was last night condemned by a leading education expert who said the move was “regrettable”.
The plan “flies in the face of evidence nationally and internationally”, according to Professor Chris Husbands, director of the Institute of Education at the University of London.
It also contradicts the Government’s own White Paper, setting out its aims for England’s schools system, which says that best education systems around the world train their teachers rigorously from the start, he added.
Ministers announced last week that in future, academies can hire staff who are experts in their field who have not taught in state schools before and do not have qualified teacher status (QTS).
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They argued that it would allow these schools to hire professionals who are experts in their field, such as scientists, engineers, musicians and linguists who may not have QTS.
But the move was met with anger from teaching unions – many of whom are disgruntled with what they believe is the radicalism of education secretary Michael Gove – who insisted that all children should be taught by qualified teachers.
In a blogpost yesterday, Prof Husbands cited the 2010 White Paper called The Importance of Teaching which says international evidence shows that “the most important factor in determining the effectiveness of a school system is the quality of its teachers”.
“The best education systems draw their teachers from the most academically able, and select them carefully to ensure that they are taking only those people who combine the right personal and intellectual qualities. These systems train their teachers rigorously at the outset.”
Prof Husbands concludes: “The decision to remove the requirement that those teaching in (publicly funded) academy schools should have qualified teacher status flies in the face of evidence nationally and internationally.”
Internationally, there is strong evidence that the status of teaching is related to the quality and status of initial teaching training, he argues, and in England, partly due to recent reforms, this training is “rigorous, relevant and of high quality”.
“There is simply no research evidence at all to suppose that lowering the bar and recruiting significant numbers of unqualified teachers will do anything other than lower standards,” Prof Husbands writes.
Calling on ministers to reverse the move, Prof Husbands adds: “The Government’s decision is at the very least regrettable. It will do nothing to raise standards and nothing to enhance the status of teaching as a profession.”