Unqualified teachers

(44 Posts)
nearmiss Fri 11-Jul-14 19:05:58

Do teachers at your school have to declare their qualifications? You might be surprised to find that some schools are saving money by employing people who only have GCSE themselves, teaching KS4 lessons. I blew the whistle on an unqualified modern languages colleague who was clearly out of her depth, whose pronunciation and grammar was very weak, who was marking work right when it was wrong, giving A* grades to coursework that was at best C. Guess who ended up being made redundant? Clue: she's still there. The rationale given. She was a better teacher than me. For better, read cheaper.

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Fri 11-Jul-14 19:12:42

You sound bitter.
Not necessarily cheaper - more enthusiastic and inspiring maybe.
DC2 was taught by a Latin teacher whose specialism was PE, but went on the Cambridge Schools Classic Project teaching fast track (6 week) scheme, got the bug, worked on it her spare time and enthused the kids. DS2 loved it, loved her, and LEARNED. He has just done GCSE, and even if he doesn't get an A* - it has been an entirely positive learning experience for him and others, and we are delighted that he has had the opportunity to be taught by people who love their subject.
There is more to teaching than time-serving.

tabitha8 Fri 11-Jul-14 21:53:51

Was the modern languages teacher a qualified teacher? In another subject or something? It isn't right to employ someone whose knowledge of the language that they are teaching isn't up to scratch. If my child were at that school, I would be very concerned.

ikkenu Sat 12-Jul-14 11:00:25

I understand how you feel from a parent's point of view. There's a shortage of MFL teachers - which is probably why she is still in post. I'd still like them to be fully qualified to teach, but subject knowledge is as important here as for science teaching. Unless they are native speakers they really need a language degree with experience of living abroad. Five years of school French does not make you fluent enough to be able correct pupils' mistakes, set up confident role play and or develop skills for writing and comprehension. Not in secondary anyway - they do it in primary schools, but some teaching there is still a waste of time.

pinkfrocks Sat 12-Jul-14 11:12:39

you say 'a colleague'- so you blew the whistle on another teacher in your school?
I don't understand the process for this- wasn't it something that the HoD was aware of anyway?

Hmm, are you saying that somehow they wernt aware that she/he was unqualified but you were? And yet it was you they let go?

Yangsun Sat 12-Jul-14 12:42:28

I am an mfl teacher, I teach two languages I have a degree in and another I did to A level (in ks3 only for that one). I am definitely not as linguistically proficient as sone of my colleagues in my 3rd language but am nevertheless my department's lead practitioner because my pupils make consistently outstanding progress over time. We have a native speaker of my 3rd mfl who needs additional support because, despite being a qualified teacher with fantastic subject knowledge, her classes make insufficient progress. I don't know you, or your situation but but bear in mind that subject knowledge is not the only thing that makes a good teacher.

nearmiss Sat 12-Jul-14 13:03:22

Of course subject knowledge is not the only criterion. The ability to engage every student and make lessons a total learning experience is vital too. How can you do that if you really don't know what the words mean? The school was aware that the person who was shoehorned in neither wanted to teach languages nor had applied to. She was simply cheaper. She was mortified when she was given her timetable for next term.

nearmiss Sat 12-Jul-14 13:04:11

That's exactly what I'm saying.

nearmiss Sat 12-Jul-14 13:06:26

Of course she knew, but she did not want to rock the boat as SMT had overruled her staffing requests.

ScouseBird8364 Sat 12-Jul-14 13:12:53

Only read the OP, not tft yet, but OMG is this fact? No, I'd be fuming if I found out my child was being taught by an unqualified teacher, and I'd be fuming even more so if I was a fully qualified teacher who'd worked hard to actually earn those qualifications

nearmiss Sat 12-Jul-14 13:18:45

You sound bitter.
Not necessarily cheaper - more enthusiastic and inspiring maybe.
DC2 was taught by a Latin teacher whose specialism was PE, but went on the Cambridge Schools Classic Project teaching fast track (6 week) scheme, got the bug, worked on it her spare time and enthused the kids. DS2 loved it, loved her, and LEARNED. He has just done GCSE, and even if he doesn't get an A* - it has been an entirely positive learning experience for him and others, and we are delighted that he has had the opportunity to be taught by people who love their subject.
There is more to teaching than time-serving.

response:

and that is the reason I am so upset. I am (or at least was) that enthusiastic teacher. The new person had not applied for the post and didn't want to do it. She can't speak the language properly and has been in tears with terror at being exposed in front of classes which are supposed to be delivered in target language . Believe me, she applied to do one job and was forced into doing another. I know more than anyone that teaching is not about time-serving. It is about inspiration, belief and devotion. It is not a job; it is a vocation. However, it is a baseline criterion that you have sound subject knowledge.
School leadership is not about saving money, but if SMT have got the budget wrong something has to give. Staffing departments with personnel on fixed-term contracts is now standard. Anyone can be hired and fired.

noblegiraffe Sat 12-Jul-14 13:20:56

I suspect many parents would be horrified if they knew who was teaching their kids maths.

duchesse Sat 12-Jul-14 13:33:09

My experience of many state schools has taught me that "one page ahead of the kids" is deemed to be good enough (it's not), and that they prefer a breathing person teaching out of their subject area to no teacher at all or a supply, so many many lessons end up being "taught" by teachers not qualified to do what they are doing. I also deplore it. I'm sure it happens in private schools for the same reasons (economic ones) but I've seen it far less in the ones I've been in contact with.

duchesse Sat 12-Jul-14 13:37:09

ikkenu, there may be a shortage of MFL teachers but the DofE is making no efforts as far as I can tell to recruit, retain or support the teachers they do have. Teaching languages is appalling compared to many other subjects due to lack of setting, lack of support, enormous amounts of differentiation required, the vast range of skills expected in every lesson and the general negative attitude of many pupils and parents to the learning of a foreign language.

I got out. I feel no compulsion to donate my life to the system. I loved teaching but it was incompatible with life outside work. I now work for far fewer hours per week for the same pay or better now, and am still using my languages.

nearmiss Sat 12-Jul-14 13:56:50

On this same site, I would urge parents to look at other threads about staff who started as lunchtime supervisors, started helping out in class, became TAs and who were eventually given permanent classroom roles. Statutory in-service training was indeed given so that these staff are briefed in safeguarding, standard discipline techniques etc. They can only get so far up this ladder and then funding for the necessary degree qualifications is not there. And there they stay - handy and cheap. You need to know more than how to keep a class amused.
A nurse is not a surgeon, a waitress is not a chef, an air hostess is not a pilot.
If a TA or cover supervisor is being used as a teacher, then they should be paid the full rate and sponsored through proper training to put them on a par with teachers. Too many hands-on roles in schools are now paid as non-teaching. It is about saving money. If a school fails to made year on year "efficiency savings" it is in trouble.

ScouseBird8364 Sat 12-Jul-14 15:20:44

noblegiraffe, care to elaborate please?

Yangsun Sat 12-Jul-14 15:58:44

In that case you're right it is worrying. If you have lost your job over this you need to speak to your union. They should never have employed someone new if they were on the verge of making staffing cuts and if they're saying it was you because you're the weaker teacher, they need to have evidence to support this claim. If you're already out you have nothing to lose and probably a good case to take it further.

nearmiss Sat 12-Jul-14 16:01:55

Yangsun, there is nothing the Union can do. The school is free to spend its budget as it pleases. It has chosen not to extend my contract.

nearmiss Sat 12-Jul-14 16:08:18

This is why everyone should get behind the industrial action being taken by teachers and all public sector workers. Those free schools and academies who have been closed or put into special measures had one thing in common - inexperienced staff who had bought into media claims that teachers are overpaid bolshie morons who can't get a proper job. They found out the hard way that running a school takes real skill not just good intentions. It is the shape of things to come unless parents keep an eye on who is being recruited to teach and why.

pinkfrocks Sat 12-Jul-14 17:11:51

It's gone on for years love.
As long ago as 18 years I found out that a teacher who was teaching maths at DDs school ( very sought after single sex comp) was not qualified- though she did have a degree.

It's nothing new that there are unqualified ( without QTS ) teachers- that's why there are 2 pay scales- QTS and non QTS.

I haven't read every single word of your posts. I used to be a teacher so I know a bit about all of this.

I can see you are miffed but we only have your side of the story- you may think you are a great teacher but maybe the school had other opinions? You cannot prove they got rid of you because someone else was cheaper, can you? You could still have been in that position is they had kept a qualified teacher who was cheaper than a more experienced one.

pinkfrocks Sat 12-Jul-14 17:17:50

I suspect- can't decide for lack of detail- that this person was in fact a qualified teacher but not qualified to teach MFL- but another subject?
Is that what you mean?

TBH the solution to this is parent power- parents need to know if a teacher- any teacher- is not up to the job. Then the governing body should be informed.

In independent schools, teachers are hired and fired all the time. In my first year in 1 indy school, 3 new teachers were shown the door when it became obvious that they weren't up to the job- and they were all highly qualified.

nearmiss Sat 12-Jul-14 18:00:22

Pinfrocks, of course the thought has run through my head that I was deluding myself. Being a reflective practitioner is part of the skill-set of any competent teacher.
The point I am making is that there are teachers in class who are not subject specialists and no amount of loveliness can compensate for not having enough subject knowledge to judge if a student's work is right or wrong.

You've only got Gove to thank for this one. This is why I strike.

Haggisfish Sat 12-Jul-14 18:12:38

Yep. Academies and free schools are free to employ who they like as teachers.

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