Students let down by teachers' knowledge gap

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Girls Schools Association president, Alice Phillips, has warned that tens of thousands of new teachers are not knowledgeable enough to deliver the new back-to-basics national curriculum, and  have little or no grounding in many key aspects of the curriculum.

In an article for the Times Educational Supplement, she said many of the country’s brightest, most enthusiastic teachers have little or no grounding in English language or grammar, adding that they are completely at sea with many aspects of proper usage.

Mrs Phillips went on to say: "Wide reading and a familiarity with formal expression and grammar work to a certain extent, but won’t help you in front of a class of 14-year-olds when you are tasked with delving into the mysteries of subordinate clauses."

MEP, Paul Nuttall, commented: "Grammar and spelling are important - and not helped by text speak - and the attitude among educationists that it was the content not the spelling and grammar that mattered was totally wrong. And we are reaping the whirlwind.

"The new curriculum is intended to address this problem but the danger is it will fail to meet its potential. Mrs Phillips is right to say that bridging the knowledge gap for a generation of teachers whose own education may not have included the breadth that the new curriculum espouses is our immediate task."

Mrs Phillips concluded that a shortage of rigorously educated teachers may mean that the new national curriculum fails to fulfil its true potential in the classroom.

School Leadership Today
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