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Academies to be allowed to employ teachers without formal training

27 July 2012

The pace of reform in education has been stepped up again today. The model funding agreement for all new academies has now been changed by the Department for Education to remove the requirement for all teachers to have Qualified Teacher Status. Any existing academy will also be able to change its funding agreement to include this new freedom.

This change might sound technical but its importance is that it means that academies will now be able to employ people who have not gone through a year of teacher training. Previously, an academy couldn’t have employed, say, James Dyson to teach design without him having done a year in a teacher training college.

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These new, more flexible arrangements should spur a change in the nature of teacher training. It is now likely to move to being far more decentralised and schools based and away from the big, institutional teacher training colleges. Indeed, academy chains like ARK and Harris are already beginning to develop their own systems of teacher training.

One group unlikely to be happy with today’s changes is the teaching unions. The need for teachers to be QTS has been one of the ways in which they have controlled the profession and this reform is likely to lead to more tension between them and Michael Gove.

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Show comments
  • martinlovetype

    “The second imperative is to ensure academies are equally accessible to children from all backgrounds. Many have an impressive commitment to social inclusion but some take the low road to improvement by manipulating admissions. This must be eradicated.”- Chair of Academies commission <a href=";

  • justQTSed

    It is not axiomatic that experts in a particular field can teach. They can model their skill and approach for children, but it is possible their expertise removes empathy towards learners with little or no knowledge of their specialist area.

  • cmp

    The BBC’s headline, completely unbiased of course:

  • Mudplugger

    Another important step in Gove’s liberating education from the dead hand of the brainless box-tickers.

    Go for it Gove, there’s much more to be done on your watch.

  • alexsandr

    maybe one nice side benefit of this is we could have part time teachers seconded from the ‘real’ world to teach in schools. The insight that would give kids to counterbalance the teacher who left school, uni, PGCE then back to school.

  • Procrustes

    Before we overload the bandwagon,could we step back from the hysteria fest? To quote the Teaching Agency:

    ‘If you have substantial experience of working in a UK school as an instructor, unqualified teacher, or as a teacher in an independent school or further education institution, you may be able to qualify for QTS with minimal teacher training’

    So an unqualified teacher can already get a job sans QTS.

    The Independent highlighted the fact that 20,000 unqualified teachers were being employed in 2009. Where was the left’s outrage then? All during a time when exam results supposedly improved in leaps and bounds. So were unqualified teachers incapable, or government statistics manipulated?

    QTS only applies to state-maintained and special schools. Would you argue that private schools provide a worse education than the state?

    Telemachus fails to understand the status quo; if qualified teachers are such an important resource, why did Labour allow so many unqualified ones into the classroom? Poor planning or lack of scruples?

    • roger

      No, they still need QTS, they just get it without spending a whole year training.
      This is what should happen in academies as well, a number of targeted lesson observations by experienced independent senior teachers and then give them QTS. A person with experience can observe a lesson and realise quite quickly if the teacher has ‘it’ or not, grading is just the paperwork.

  • telemachus

    I think the best plan for schools is a return to a Secretary of education we can trust.
    Like the last one

  • anyfool

    Why not let Teaching Assistants go straight to teaching as most good ones would stand out from some of the qualified dross who currently infect the teaching profession.

  • Daniel Maris

    So does this mean an Imam from Cairo’s Islamic University can immediately take up post in an Islamic Academy school in this country and give the children placed in his care the blessings of his own enlightened education?

    How very, very wonderful! :)

  • Robert Eve

    If the teaching unions are not happy it must be a good policy.

  • Nicholas

    It never ceases to amaze me how the stupidity of supposedly “qualified” teachers is regularly demonstrated. They have no shame, either, often appearing on quiz programmes and making no bones about their staggering ignorance as though it is a matter of great fun.

    • telemachus

      Qualified teachers are the most important resource we have to mould the intellect and aspirations of our fine young men and women
      Nobody wants folks off the street or out of factory culture trying to hold the attention of these young minds without test of their communication skills which the year in education training provides.
      Right wing rags, revanchists and Gove fail to understand this.
      Which is why teachers hate Gove

    • Daniel Maris

      I was taught by an unqualified Maths teacher – the worst teacher I ever had, ex military by the way. He was absolutely useless, and that was after the most wonderful maths teacher ever, who held the interest of children in the subject in the most remarkable way imaginable.

      Reform teacher training, but don’t pretend this is a step forward.

  • UlyssesReturns

    Like all closed shops the teachers unions’ would have us believe that, without this meaningless qualification, education in this country will end and the evil tories’ will succeed in destroying civilisation as we know it. I have lectured at a number of leading business schools all over the world and have never (and would never) waste my time on a QTS. If this qualification meant anything, all children would be proficient in the 3Rs and well behaved at all times. Why is Gove the only conservative in the government?

    • telemachus

      Business Schools are not schools. They are filled with eager business minds, not meandering souls who need to be motivated and moulded.
      Remember education has both an academic and a social dimension

    • Daniel Maris

      Teaching is not a closed shop. What are you on?

    • David

      I suspect there may just be the tiniest difference in the attitude, approach and aptitude of business school students and those of a set of comprehensive school pupils that might necessitate a slightly different skill set.

      Just a guess though…….

  • Mark Robertson

    OMG I could actually teach. I only have three degrees and 15 years overseas experience which incldued teaching university classes their science laboratories (biology). Obviously, I could not equal a teacher who has only one degree and a teaching certificate.

    • Leonard James

      Fool. Five minutes with bottom set Year 10 on a Friday afternoon would soon bring you down to earth.

  • David

    “an academy couldn’t have employed, say, James Dyson to teach design ”

    It’s worth stressing that being able to control a class of 30 children is a skill in itself that James Dyson, for all his undoubted skills at design, may not actually possess.

    It is of course not an argument for any particular gateway qualification – schools can surely be trusted to look for and check that potential employees have such skill or even themselves require such a qualification on their own – but it does well not to be flippant about this particular aspect of teaching.

  • teletubby

    The need to have QTS is unnecessarily restrictive. There are subjects I could teach as an expert but would not be able to without gaining a teaching qualification. On the job qualification makes much more sense, and allows for part-time teaching by those with ability, skills and knowledge who do not want to become a full-time teacher but have something to add to a school.

    • http://spectator fergus Pickering

      Frankly, now there are so many teaching assistants gaining on the job experience, there seems no need for them to do a year of teacher training. But they have to.

    • telemachus

      Not bad teletubby-part time lecturing is good and possible under current rules
      I even do some of it myself at our local independent schools
      I my consequent contact with trained teachers I have gained admiration for their special communication skills fostered in the priming year.
      I have also confirmed my view that they all hate Gove

      • Chris lancashire

        Obviously not in English then

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