Academies to be able to hire non-union, non-PGCE teachers

(92 Posts)
longfingernails Sat 28-Jul-12 13:32:23

The legions of unionised mediocrities who labour under the mistaken assumption that they are adequate teachers simply because they wield useless PGCEs and have the (ludicrous) "qualified teacher status" will be further sidelined. Yet another feather in Gove's cap!

www.telegraph.co.uk/education/9433002/Academies-given-power-to-hire-unqualified-teachers.html

The way he is ripping up decades of left-wing nonsense in education is a joy to behold.

Themumsnot Mon 30-Jul-12 13:10:45

MY PGCE certificate arrived in the post this morning. It's a piece of paper, sure. But that piece of paper represents 9 months of the hardest work I have done in my life - most of it in the classroom teaching real children and being mentored and supervised by real teachers.
I am probably exactly the sort of person that some posters on here think should be allowed to go into a classroom and get on with things without the benefit of that piece of paper - I'm in my mid-forties, I have a first class degree in my subject and more than 20 years experience in a professional environment. There is no way that I could have done that. The PGCE is a huge learning curve and to those on here whose views on its inefficacy are merely based on ignorant prejudice I say, try it for a week and then come back and tell us what you think. I certainly wish Michael Gove would.

CouthyMow Mon 30-Jul-12 14:26:25

Exactly, themumsnot. You worked bloody hard to get your PGCE, while already having subject specific qualifications too.

Why can't these other would-be teachers do the same? If they wouldn't pass the PGCE or GTP or NQT year, then I don't want them teaching my DC's.

Why is that such a difficult thing for Gove to get his head round?

Maybe because he is an oily little elf, with twattish tendencies that knows nothing about teaching, and wishes to 'write off' between 30% and 60% of DC's from a very early age?

He has no idea how difficult it is for TRAINED teachers to differentiate effectively for a class of 30 pupils where one could be working 3 years below their chronological age, and another could be working 3 years above their chronological age.

If a trained teacher, who has done their PGCE and NQT year, finds it hard to do this, how will someone totally inexperienced, with no training on how to do this, and with no teaching qualifications manage it?

I certainly wouldn't want any of my DC's being taught by someone going into teaching through this route in their first two years or so. Why should my DC's be guinea pigs for something like this?

flexybex Mon 30-Jul-12 16:02:37

themumsnot What a great idea!

Surely Michael is the ideal person to trial his idea? Ex-journo, good degree....

Congrats on PGCE grin!

niceguy2 Mon 30-Jul-12 16:11:20

Like I say, I'm in two minds about it. Undoubtedly the PGCE is a hard qualification to get. I doubt I'd be able to get it from what a friend of mine who recently did it went through.

I guess for me the question comes down to why does Gove think this is necessary? Is there a serious shortage of suitably qualified teachers so this is a way of maybe attracting some people who may otherwise be put off teaching? If there's not then you have to ask yourself why fix something which isn't broke?

Like I say, one of my best teachers wasn't qualified but at the same time as a parent I'd be very wary of an unqualified teacher. So I can see it from both sides.

Feenie Mon 30-Jul-12 16:19:25

I guess for me the question comes down to why does Gove think this is necessary?

Because - as someone has pointed out on the other thread - academies are having problems attracting qualified teachers. Can't think why hmm

Themumsnot Mon 30-Jul-12 16:20:56

Niceguy - you say one of your best teachers wasn't qualified, but how long had they been teaching by the time they taught you? What the PGCE and NQT years do is give you a very intensive and well-supported route to develop your skills - without them I am sure you would get there, but it would take longer and in the meantime it will be harder for you and, crucially, your pupils won't be getting the best of you. One of the great things about the PGCE for me was that every time a taught a lesson someone experienced was on hand to give me instant feedback on how to improve for next time. Similarly, for lesson planning, assessment, classroom management and all the hundred and one other skills you need to learn to be an effective classroom teacher: skills some people on this thread don't seem to even acknowledge exist.

slug Mon 30-Jul-12 16:21:59

Because, niceguy2, unqualified, un-unionised teachers can be paid less.

niceguy2 Mon 30-Jul-12 16:30:39

I hear what you are saying Mumsnot. I can't remember exactly now (i'm that old lol) but he was in fairness an experienced teacher. You are right, he could have struggled at first but then he may not have either. I don't know.

I do agree that it is crucial to get feedback and support from an experienced teacher on how to teach. But you can do all that without PGCE.

Slug, you could be right. It could be all about pay and unionisation.

slug Mon 30-Jul-12 16:31:46

There's no "could" about it. As always, follow the money.

Themumsnot Mon 30-Jul-12 16:43:02

I do agree that it is crucial to get feedback and support from an experienced teacher on how to teach. But you can do all that without PGCE.

Well, yes, you can, but the PGCE and GTP are set up to do this in a very structured way that ensures you are getting good teaching, guidance and support. Schools appreciate having PGCE students also because they go in there with something to give back too - my university-based first term meant I had ideas and resources to contribute to the departments I was working in. Also, the way the programme is structured means that you are not learning from just one teacher, you are learning from lots of teachers in at least two different schools - schools which are chosen to provide a breadth of experience - and you are monitored and advised both by the schools you teach in and the university. My PGCE programme was excellent, and I honestly don't see why people with no knowledge or experience of the system are so eager to jump in and denigrate a training that they don't understand.

flatpackhamster Mon 30-Jul-12 17:45:59

Themumsnot

Well, yes, you can, but the PGCE and GTP are set up to do this in a very structured way that ensures you are getting good teaching, guidance and support. Schools appreciate having PGCE students also because they go in there with something to give back too - my university-based first term meant I had ideas and resources to contribute to the departments I was working in. Also, the way the programme is structured means that you are not learning from just one teacher, you are learning from lots of teachers in at least two different schools - schools which are chosen to provide a breadth of experience - and you are monitored and advised both by the schools you teach in and the university. My PGCE programme was excellent, and I honestly don't see why people with no knowledge or experience of the system are so eager to jump in and denigrate a training that they don't understand.

I think it's because, despite the training, you still get abysmal teachers who should never have qualified. The PGCE may be fine if you're keen and bright and capable but there are people getting through it who do not belong in front of a class.

Is the solution to junk it completely and allow schools to hire clever, capable people who haven't been through the PGCE? I don't know. But I don't think anyone can claim that when a person goes through the PGCE system that definitely makes them capable of standing in front of a class and teaching, because sadly for our children that clearly isn't the case. Perhaps it needs to be more rigorous?

Denise34 Mon 30-Jul-12 18:10:07

If Academies are hiring teachers that aren't up to the job, they'll soon be out of business.

Feenie Mon 30-Jul-12 18:13:32

How do you work that out, when 50% of schools are already academies? confused

Feenie Mon 30-Jul-12 18:14:33

I think this thread is confusing PGCE with QTS. A PGCE is only one route into teaching.

Themumsnot Mon 30-Jul-12 18:18:15

* I think it's because, despite the training, you still get abysmal teachers who should never have qualified. The PGCE may be fine if you're keen and bright and capable but there are people getting through it who do not belong in front of a class.*

But there are incompetent people in every profession - that doesn't invalidate the system of training they undergo. There are abysmal lawyers, doctors, engineers... would you on that account allow hospitals to hire bright, capable unqualified people to care for patients? If there are people getting through PGCE who don't belong in front of a class then headteachers have the freedom not to hire them; believe me there are plenty of capable teachers applying for every vacant teaching position. What I would like to know is where this idea that so many teachers are incompetent comes from - sure I have encountered some, but no more than I would expect to find in any walk of life, and I should think the chances of unqualified teachers being incompetent would be significantly higher.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 30-Jul-12 18:39:30

Denise34
they'll soon be out of business

please explain that comment in the context of a state funded monopoly - which is what academy schools are

CouthyMow Mon 30-Jul-12 19:08:43

Denise34. Secondary Academies in my town certainly won't 'go out of business'.

All seven Secondary schools will be Academies as of 1st September this year. In fact, even the two Grammar schools are Academies, so that makes all 9 schools.

Five out of those 9 schools are going to be run as an Academy Consortium. In other words, they will have the same admission criteria, and the same wages, contracts and working standards for teachers as each other.

How will they go out of business if your only choices in the entire town are between 9 different Academies, 5 of which will be jointly run?

It's a State endorsed Monopoly.

CouthyMow Mon 30-Jul-12 19:15:03

And if an Academy does go out of business, what would that mean for the pupils that attend that school? How dire would their education be while the DfE and Michael Gove scrabble around trying to salvage the situation?

In the one Academy that HAS already failed, the pupils have had the majority of their experienced, qualified teachers leave, sometimes leaving just one teacher in a department for a large Secondary school. HTLA's and an ever-changing succession of Supply teachers are taking classes right up to A-level, with parents having nowhere else to move their DC's to - other schools in the area can only absorb so many pupils before they shut their doors - and in the meantime, Mr Gove and the DfE sit there wringing their hands pouring money into the school to pay for the Supply teachers the school doesn't have the budget for...

Yes, allowing an Academy to fail is the very BEST thing for the pupils left there...hmm

CouthyMow Mon 30-Jul-12 19:17:05

The first line of that post should read "All seven Academies in my town "

Apologies for missing words.

Olympicnmix Mon 30-Jul-12 20:44:30

I think, in part, this is a non story. A decent head is going to want to have qualified teachers in their classrooms; it really isn't a selling point with parents to have lots of unqualified teacher in classrooms. Both the PGCE/GTP and NQT are 2 years of 'quality control' and they also give essential on-the-job practical training, whatever background you've come from. Although if you've managed to kidnap Adrian Newey to teach motor mechanics you might forgo the lack of a PGCE.

Any non-qualified coming in to teach must show they can hack it in front of the class and deliver on the subject knowledge ...otherwise the results aren't going to be pretty. With my prognostic head on I foretell a training period for unqualified teachers cunningly called anything but PGCE/GTP with an equivalent NQT year. Heck I might even go so far as to foresee unqualified teachers, hacked off of doing the same job for less money, forming their own union to ensure they get fair pay and conditions!

And I hope Niceguy2 doesn't mind me saying this, but his recall of his cracking unqualified teacher might be more a reflection of the era he was at a school than an illustration of a vast untapped pool of hidden teacherly talent waiting to leap into classrooms, as nowadays everyone has a degree (ok, slight exaggeration) ... but people like my father of whom NG2 could be speaking, fearsomely intelligent & charismatic, left his boarding school after his Olevels as people of his ilk didn't go to university; not so now with bursaries, loans and equal access. To be fair there ARE people I meet who you know would make very good teachers but they would rather self-immolate than don elbow-patches.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 30-Jul-12 20:54:33

Olympic
Sorry but you are wrong.
Academy heads have to balance their budgets by minimising costs.

If they have the choice between an expensive experienced unionised teachers and a dirt cheap non qualified one, they will (and are already) taking it.

Heads have not been trained to be business leaders. Without LEA oversight there are REAL problems brewing at many formerly excellent schools.

Olympicnmix Mon 30-Jul-12 21:14:27

I do know it's happening in some academies in the county I live in (not work) but that's a reflection of some weak heads in schools I would neither choose to teach in or send my dcs to. What often they do is offer whacking great salaries to try and attract inspirational heads of faculty but then employ the cheapest teachers and then institute a whole raft of back-breaking and time-consuming 'initiatives' when, to their surprise, they don't get the results and parents who can exercise choice stay away in droves. It's a completely false economy. In my defence, I did say 'decent' head, one who is concerned with what's best for its pupils and concerned for a school's long-term reputation and I also indicated that for those who do go down this path of employing unqualified, they are going to have to institute a lot of training or 'mentoring' as I think it is often called. My exH did exactly that in that type of school.

TalkinPeace2 Mon 30-Jul-12 21:29:05

Olympic
but the point is that ALL the schools are converting - so heads and admin teams who worked well with LEA support are now rudderless
and it shows

and once ALL the schools have converted
and leadership starts to slide
and OFSTED downgrade them
and so Gove gets to let his profit making cronies take them over

what happens to our children?

flexybex Mon 30-Jul-12 22:19:16

niceguy 'I think it's because, despite the training, you still get abysmal teachers who should never have qualified. The PGCE may be fine if you're keen and bright and capable but there are people getting through it who do not belong in front of a class. '

Much the same can be said about untrained teachers, making that statement redundant:
You could still get abysmal teachers who aren't qualified. Those who haven't got QTS may be fine if they're keen and bright and capable, but there could be people getting through who do not belong in front of the class.

In any walk of life, you get people who should have taken a different career path! Have you never seen the doctor who has the bedside manner of a woodlouse? The salesman who can't sell?

Olympicnmix Mon 30-Jul-12 22:36:13

TiP, not all schools have converted (mine chose not to, nor did the next nearest) and not all academies are badly run, some are excellent in that regard and don't choose to employ unqualifieds. There are tough decisions being taken, for sure, but not all are going down the unqualified route. I don't dispute what you say about increasing numbers that are, nor do I dispute the impact you outline, just the scale. I don't believe any government would allow matters to get that dire, especially with high profile, vocal headteachers who do have the ear of the DFES & the Minster for Education - but if you're right then I really need to find a new career!

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