Government under pressure to drop unqualified teachers

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The shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, has called on the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, to abandon the policy of allowing unqualified teachers in the classroom, amid speculation that plans are being considered to extend initial teacher training from two years to three.

There has been a 16% increase in the number of unqualified teachers in the past year as a result of deregulation that allowed unqualified teachers into classrooms in academies and free schools.

Tristram Hunt, told the Guardian:  “It’s a big test for Nicky Morgan to see if she’s going to do anything serious about the Gove agenda and what it’s done for school standards. We are hearing a lot of rumours that what she is thinking of is extending the initial teacher training period from two years to three years as part of a general review into teacher training. But they are refusing to deal with the main issue, which is having unqualified teachers in the classroom.”

Head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has also expressed doubts about the quality of teacher training, as new recruits to the teaching profession are quitting the classroom because they are inadequately prepared for the challenges.

An independent review of initial teacher training (ITT) was set up by Mr Gove this year as a response to growing concerns, which has been assessing the quality and effectiveness of ITT. The will report to the education secretary before the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, the former chairwoman of Ofsted, Baroness Sally Morgan, has warned that Mr Gove has allowed ideology to trump common sense by rushing revolution in education which is now suffering the consequences of his changes.

She said: “There are hundreds of academy chains, some of which have grown exponentially. Unfortunately, quality control has been poor and the opportunity to build incentives for strong performing schools to help weaker ones were not built into the system for fear of precisely that — a system. Patchy results, mismanagement and the occasional scandal have been the inevitable result.”

School Leadership Today
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