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!

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

Feenie Sat 28-Jul-12 13:46:14

God yes. Can't wait until they get rid of doctors' certificates too, silly unnecessary bits of paper that they are. Who needs qualifications to practise medicine, fgs? Pah.

Cloudminnow Sat 28-Jul-12 13:56:14

I don't want my children taught by unqualified teachers. Why are PGCEs 'left-wing nonsense'? It would seem that Gove is the one spreading 'nonsense' (right-wing or otherwise).

Denise34 Sat 28-Jul-12 14:00:08

PGCEs are more about paperwork than actually proving you can teach. I think this is a good move by Gove. The teachers unions need to be brought down a peg or two.

Cloudminnow Sat 28-Jul-12 14:06:26

How would bringing the unions down a peg or two improve the standard of teaching? If a teacher is good it doesn't matter if they belong to a union or not.

If PGCEs are meaningless paperwork, how would schools decide if someone had the potential to be a good teacher or not? Why would the experts in their field want to be teachers anyway, and if they did, why would they be reluctant to do PGCEs? (they would surely put the 'meaningfulness' back into the qualification).

Feenie Sat 28-Jul-12 14:08:58

PGCEs are more about paperwork than actually proving you can teach.

Bollocks it's 10 months of non-stop teaching - which admittedly is a lot of paperwork also, but that's because day to day teaching involves lots of ridiculous paperwork.

Do you think 'hang on - do I actually know what I am talking about here, or am I going to say something idiotic in my ignorance again?' to yourself before yo u post about teaching, Denise? Because reading the last few staggeringly ignorant DM fuelled comments in the last few days, I am guessing not.

Once again, it is QTS that qualifies you to teach - NOT a PGCE. A PGCE is the route some teachers choose to qualify. But there are many others.

c4rnsi1lk Sat 28-Jul-12 14:11:45

denise do you have a PGCE?

Gove has done this because he wants to bring about change to teacher's terms and conditions along with messing up their pensions.

rosabud Sat 28-Jul-12 14:38:21

How can teachers be "born not made"? Perhaps a certain type of personality is pre-disposed to be a good teacher/ doctor/ police officer/ architect/ nurse/ circus acrobat but they couldn't possibly do it without being shown how. Teaching is not about standing in front of a class of kids and telling them all the facts you know about Maths/ French/ History etc, it's about planning and structuring the methods to convey the knowledge you possess to all the hundreds or thousands of different individual children you will come across in your career. You need to be shown how to do that!! You can't just be born understanding it, that's hilarious!

Feenie Sat 28-Jul-12 14:59:09

I might ditch teaching - I reckon I was born to be a train driver. I'd be fantastic, I reckon.

YoulllWinGoldOneDay Sat 28-Jul-12 15:02:17

Any school can hire an non-unionised (as opposed to unqualified) teacher can't they? I thought that the closed shop was illegal? That said, most teachers will join a union for their own protection. God help the unqualified teacher with no union who faces a false allegation of abuse or something.

YvyB Sat 28-Jul-12 15:05:26

I have a PGCE (and yes, it was a whole academic year of teaching children PLUS doing all the paperwork that goes along side AND reading up on the educational theories and psychologies to give us an understanding of how the brain receives, processes and stores information BEFORE writing essays that were assessed in order to ensure our own understanding of how children learn was sufficient to allow us to take responsibility for educating children). I have been teaching for 17 years (full time, core subject, state secondary school) and have supervised many PGCE students during that time. I am astounded that ANYBODY, let alone the minister responsible for rasing standards of education for our children, could think that doing away with this qualification (or equivalent routes to QTS) will improve what is happening in our classrooms.

Whilst some of my PGCE students have undoubtedly had a natural aptitude for teaching, NONE of them have automatically known how to assess and level students' work, NONE of them have had the automatic ability to monitor and help 30 students simultaneously and NONE of them would have been able to navigate their way through the absurdly complex paperwork that goes along with the job without considerable training and guidance.

Surely we (and I'm writing as a parent now) should be insisting on GREATER rigour and training - and possibly an increased rewards package to ensure the very best graduates are attracted to teaching - to ensure our children get the most skilled practicioners possible? It shouldn't be up to teaching unions to argue this point; it's about time every parent in the country stood up and said that our children deserve better.

Feels completely sick that someone has just viewed the last 9m of my life. The most gruelling, the most stressful 9m of my life as meaningless paperwork.

Yes there was a lot of paperwork. 80% was necessary to do the job of teaching and would be done as a teacher. The other 20% developed my understanding of a teachers roles. 100% had value IMHO.

knitknack Sat 28-Jul-12 15:12:10

Hear hear Ivy!

c4rnsi1lk Sat 28-Jul-12 17:06:47

Totally agree with yvy.

longfingernails Sat 28-Jul-12 18:51:01

Feenie The idea that "educational theory" is necessary to teach is preposterous. That the left even consider it on a par with the highly technical training necessary to become a doctor shows up the fallacy of their thinking immediately.

What Britain desperatly needs is more people with real life experience - and fewer Guardian readers - becoming teachers. For example - our military, businesspeople, retired engineers, classical musicians, ...

I certainly agree that the best graduates should be wooed towards teaching YvyB - but the point about truly superb, highly motivated people is that they cannot stand mediocrity, and thrive with competition. Individual contribution is to be celebrated. The domination of undistinguished and humdrum second-raters in education can be directly attributed to unionised/left-wing attitudes within the teaching profession, where it is next to impossible to sack bad teachers, and next to impossible to fast-track superstars.

The domination of the left in education is being furiously disputed in every possible way, for the first time that I can remember - and it is truly exciting to have someone putting pupils first.

longfingernails Sat 28-Jul-12 19:02:00

And remember - this is combined with Sir Michael Wilshaw at the helm of Ofsted, the fightback against the endless dumbing down of exams with everyone and their dog drowning in A*s, the free schools revolution, the recognition (at least from Gove, if not Lib Dem lentil munching do-gooders) of the utter inadequacy of GCSEs, universities setting A-level syllabuses, the blow after blow hammered down on the militant NASUWT and the NUT, and so much more!

Cameron has been a dismal and disappointing Prime Minister in so many ways - Britain desperately needs a Thatcher rather than a Heath! But the Gove education reforms, together with Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reforms, are genuine achievements of this government - though neither go nearly far enough (for example, the benefits cap is set at an absurdly high £26k per household!).

Hmm...and how do you think people with real life experience become teachers?...oh yes we do a PGCE...

Leithlurker Sat 28-Jul-12 19:33:39

My you sound a very strident individual Long, I should not think it takes people long to figure out where your coming from.

So since Black and white is your preferred colour scheme can you tell me how some random person who knows a lot about geography and fancies a spot of teaching will be able deal with pupils with SEN?

I also wonder how those people will feel when all their peers are trotting off for their in-service days to underpin their knowledge and their practice? No point them going is their it will mean nothing to them.

Last I presume you agree with the idea that those without PGcE or recognised teaching qualifications will be paid less, receive worse conditions of employment, will be easier to hire on temporary contracts. I am guessing here I know but you come across as someone who would have no problem with those things? So how would you continue to motivate those people when day in and day out they are being treated as second-rate workers? Do you think most of the enthusiastic but untrained will last more than a year being paid less for doing as much, or putting up with the same hours, stress, forced working out of school time?

John Browne and his school days eh?

longfingernails Sat 28-Jul-12 19:49:08

The left can sneer all they want. No amount of sneering can overcome the simple fact that the ideas and ideals I support are being implemented, many in irreversible fashion - whilst the failed ideology they espouse is being cast onto the bonfire of history.

Feenie Sat 28-Jul-12 19:50:26

Feenie The idea that "educational theory" is necessary to teach is preposterous. That the left even consider it on a par with the highly technical training necessary to become a doctor shows up the fallacy of their thinking immediately.

Please show me where I said educational theory was necessary. You are presuming, entirely erroneously, that just because I believe that a qualification is necessary to teach, then I must also believe that theory is also necessary.

I don't. I think that the best routes into teaching rely on practical based, professional courses, like GTP and, actually, PGCE.

To make a leap from that to thinking 'sod it. why do a qualification at all?' is insane. I would love for you, or anyone else who thinks teachers can teach with one click of their fingers, to teach in my class for a day - I can guarantee you wouldn't last a lesson. It takes training - practical based being the most useful - but training nonetheless.

And since 50% of teachers already leave within 5 years, given the current terms and conditions, how long do you see these military, businesspeople, retired engineers, classical musicians lasting - without proper training? And come to that, if it only takes 10 months - with a degree - to complete a PGCE (which is mainly teaching based, with bugger all theory, despite what the DM may have fed you) then why aren't all these people you mention applying in droves?

What's stopping them?

Leithlurker Sat 28-Jul-12 20:13:07

Come, come, you must do better. You may have little problem with comprehension but your inability to logically argue your case, using where appropriate references to sources of information to demonstrate how you can lay out and conclude a well researched and logical argument lets you down.

Not good enough to assert things because you "think them", address the questions asked, do not just launch in to your own ideology. Using "I" is a sure fire way to announce to the examiner that you are not suitably prepared to deal with the subject. Take it back look at the questions again and have another bash?

YvyB Sat 28-Jul-12 20:16:50

I agree that our exam system needs an overhaul but let's not forget that the privatisation of exam boards and the drive for 'competition' in league tables has directly influenced the grade inflation that has occurred over the past decade. Sadly, this may well have initiated a 'race to the bottom' in terms of genuine pupil progress.

However, I fail to see how making a professionally accredited qualification mandatory for teachers is worsening this situation. You cannot teach effectively if you have no understanding of how a developing brain works (it's another of the body's organs after all) and learning to deliver a complex curriculum to a wide range of abilities takes time and practice. The PGCE allows young teachers to gain this experience and knowledge whilst under the supervision of both experienced teachers and academics in this field. It also seeks to ensure that no pupils are disadvantaged by being taught by someone wth no experience.

In terms of 'truly superb, highly motivated people' needing 'competition' in order to 'thrive', I would suggest that perhaps teaching is not the career for this type of personality. There is no place for your own ego in the classroom and the achievement of every child is a team effort that starts at least twelve years before they receive their GCSE results.

Surely the best way of ensuring ALL our children are taught by teachers who not only have strong academic qualifications of their own but a true understanding of how children learn plus the professional qualities needed to manage a classroom (e.g. organisation, meticulous planning, clear understanding of assessing pupil progress plus a confident knowledge and experience of a variety of strategies in order to help even the most disenchanted students make progress) is to insist that every teacher has received and been assessed on a nationally managed and recognised programme of training?

(By the way, I am also a classically trained grade 8 flautist - I trust this qualifies me as a 'classical musician' as well as a highly qualified and experienced teacher?)

EvilSynchronisedDivers Sat 28-Jul-12 20:20:28

Long - your ignorance is staggering.

Gove puts pupils first? Hahahahaha. Or do you mean a different Gove?

poorfoxyloxy Sat 28-Jul-12 20:26:18

yeah, lets just scrap training for teachers, and bring back the workhouse too while they're at it!!!

poorfoxyloxy Sat 28-Jul-12 20:27:46

insert sarcasm smiley with my last comment!!

Olympicnmix Sat 28-Jul-12 20:30:10

Having unqualifieds means they haven't done their PGCE/GTP which is not full of left-wing theory but is in-school based training, following a degree, that shows them how to put together a lesson, how to assess, how to keep discipline of a class. It's a baptism of fire that weeds out the chaff. There is also the following Newly Qualified year which does exactly similar.

I don't know any rabid lefties in my school. Do you know why we belong to a union? It's insurance from litigious parents and weak heads who don't follow employment law.

There is a good reason for getting unqualifieds into school and it's tied to Gove's 'leaked' campaign to bring back the 'Gold standard' of O Levels. That's fine for the top 40%-70% (% vary according to what source you read) but what about the rest who'll be in a system funded and designed to fail them? Hence there needs to be heavy investment at school level in vocational training. You need people like mechanics, engineers, bricklayers etc to teach who won't have the necessary current qualifications to deliver these subjects.

iggi777 Sat 28-Jul-12 20:35:02

You don't think you're an adequate teacher because you wield a pgce (useless or otherwise). You know you're 'adequate' when you've survived a week of teaching mixed-ability classes of 16 year olds without losing your temper or your sanity; and their work and feedback tells you they learned something. Most teachers I know reach far beyond adequacy. Flashy 'Superstar' teachers generally hang around in the classroom for enough years to get the promotion to management they were after. It is naïve to imagine the shortcuts proposed stem from anything other than financial motives.

flexybex Sat 28-Jul-12 20:45:08

In my school, we have 14 teachers. Of those:
One used to be in PR - has PGCE
One used to be in publishing - has PGCE
One is ex-military - has GTP
One is ex-nursery - has PGCE
One is ex-transport and logistics - has PGCE
One is ex-building society - has GTP

6 teachers in a normal school, who have actually had jobs in that scary outside world before they took a teaching qualification. Most of these have even (I feel you shudder) .... worked in the private sector.

The GTP course is best preparation for the classroom. Why? Because the students have learnt about classroom management and teaching strategies in a practical way, at the same time as completing theoretical assignments at college. They have learnt how to teach.

IMO, having done a PGCE, I was not very well qualified to go into the classroom after such a short course as I had very little experience how to manage children's behaviour.

Denise34 Sat 28-Jul-12 21:07:17

Education has become far too much about ticking boxes, and people outside of the education system largely do not care a jot about those boxes, but it is clear that too many kids are leaving school without the skills they require to get on in the world. For teachers to claim that those outside the system "do not understand teaching" is complete tripe. When I look at a watch I can see if the time is wrong without knowing the exact ins and outs of how the watch works.

longfingernails Sat 28-Jul-12 21:08:44

Olympicnmix I certainly think there should be insurance schemes available to protect teachers from vexatious complaints. There is no need for teaching unions to be the vehicle to deliver such insurance schemes.

YvyB I disagree vehemently. Good teachers have to know how to present material in a motivating way, as well as having a thorough command of the subject (which certainly isn't the case in the dystopian state of Labour's failed education legacy). They need to be able to control their use of time, and to be authoritative and engagine. None of that needs courses (except a high quality subject specific university degree, or equivalent real-life experience, which is far more relevant that any PGCE).

A week or two of pop-science neurobuzzword bingo will not somehow fill PGCEers with a keen sensitivity to the human condition. Nor will it yield that magical psychological insight which you seem to believe necessary to teach effectively.

Feenie Sat 28-Jul-12 21:11:10

A week or two of pop-science neurobuzzword bingo will not somehow fill PGCEers with a keen sensitivity to the human condition. Nor will it yield that magical psychological insight which you seem to believe necessary to teach effectively.

Where do you get this stuff from? It's such total garbage. Please enlighten us.

YvyB Sat 28-Jul-12 21:25:17

Denise, whilst it's good that you can identify the wrong time - must have been a good teacher somewhere in your primary school ;) , in teaching, once we've identified a pupil has 'got the wrong time' as it were, we then have to do something about it, in order to put it right. At this point, you really do need to know how the watch works if you want to try to mend it...

Long - do you actually have children? If so, would you really want them taught by someone who's never received any training or guidance in how to go about doing so? I wouldn't take my cat to a 'vet' with no qualifications, much less subject my own child to 14 years, day after day, of so-called 'education' by someone who has received no training. I take it you wouldn't advocate someone just getting in a car and driving off without passing their test on the grounds that 'good drivers will just intuitively know how it works'?

longfingernails Sat 28-Jul-12 21:42:19

YvyB I would not want my children taught by people without subject-specific experience. I would certainly prefer them to be taught by people without teaching-specific "training" which I believe to be massively detrimental to education.

Having been forced to go to several "teaching skills" workshops run by PGCE lecturers much earlier in my life (though not for a teaching job, I hasten to add), I can attest first-hand to the nonsense that gets spouted at such courses, though mercifully, I was only subject to miniscule doses.

I can recall only one practical bit of information which could be acted upon - namely, the best colours to use when writing on a whiteboard to avoid potential issues with colour-blindness. Even that is fairly obvious to anyone with a small amount of common sense. The bulk was claptrap from start to finish. It angers me that taxpayers' money is wasted on this.

StunningCunt Sat 28-Jul-12 21:46:23

Had a few shit teachers when I was at school. I am sure they were qualified, just not good at teaching.

Feenie Sat 28-Jul-12 21:48:18

Having been forced to go to several "teaching skills" workshops run by PGCE lecturers much earlier in my life

And your evidence for believing it must therefore be the same years later is............................

Only stupid people who don't understand there is an actual process to being able to teach post this bollocks.

There are quite a few things I'm 'expert' at but since I loathe other people's children, am a shouter who would want to sit on a six year old who refused to do what he's told, have zero patience, have little interest in diferentiated learning, am lazy, have no time for idiots (which to be fair most 6 year olds are), dont do paperwork as I cant be arsed, I'm not exactly what any normal, rational human would want teaching their kids grin

DH on the other hand (outstanding, qualified teacher, expert in his field, passionate about children's learning) - yeah, you want him.

Only a foolish person who doesn't understand how education works would want an 'expert' - didn't you see Starkey trying to teach ??!!

Hadn't a Scooby.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 28-Jul-12 21:54:34

Please read the big thread

as I say there

ANY fool can teach a small cohort of bright motivated kids - the only type that Gove and and his arslikans recognise

ONLY a qualified teacher with training in planning, differentiation and learning styles can engage the bright kids without rich parents AND stop the unmotivated from wrecking our long term economy

and to all those who says its easy : go do it or shut up

I'm told I'd be a great teacher BUT I teach at a postgrad level. I'd be SHITE at under 16's as I have neither the patience or the insight (and have the intelligence to recognise such - UNLIKE Gove)

Olympicnmix Sat 28-Jul-12 21:59:23

The year spent on a Post Graduate Qualification in Education or on a Graduate Training Programme is not like the days of yore. They spend the vast bulk of their time in school acquiring the practical, hands-on skills needed to convert subject knowledge into successful lessons. And it's an essential year, followed by the essential NQT year as, apart from equipping them with these skills, it also weeds out those who are not cut out for the profession.

Gove might want unqualified in schools (they are considerably cheaper, true) but they are still going to have to do the equivalent of the GTP where they spend 70% of their time in front of the class with a mentor in support in the background.

YvyB Sat 28-Jul-12 22:05:33

Long, you have my sympathy. You've obviously had some very negative experiences regarding education. The PGCE students I have supervised have all improved greatly over the course of a year. Whilst not every one of them had the natural 'makings' of a good teacher (indeed, some - sensibly - decided not to make teaching their career); without exception, the PGCE course helped every single one of them to improve their classroom skills, which can only be of benefit to their future pupils.

As I implied in my earlier post, whilst a driving licence does not guarrantee an excellent driver, it does at least ensure that anyone who goes on to the road alone has a basic grasp of how to handle a vehicle and keep themselves and other road users as safe as possible. This really is the function of QTS (whether via PGCE, BEd or an alternative route). The long process of becoming an excellent teacher takes a whole career. You learn from every experience and you become more adept at understanding the psychology of a myriad of different students. To return to my driving analogy - the QTS does at least guarrantee that no child will be taught by a 'driver' who has received no training whatsoever about how to keep children 'safe' on the educational highway.

Yeah cos I spent 9m sitting in a lecture theatre listening to PGCE lecturers.

I seem to have missed the 6m of that where I was in school being 'taught' by advanced skills teachers.

I have life experience. So it seems you would be happy with that. I have been a scientist in a real lab, so I think you would be happy with that. First time in the classroom I was shocking...first few weeks I was shocking. I would not have wanted my own children to be in my classes.

Oh and I am told by my mentors that I will make an excellent teacher...that I have what it takes....I just needed the PGCE to learn those teaching skills to take me from one with excellent potential to a teacher.
I also need the nqt year to develop those teaching skills.

Odmedod Sun 29-Jul-12 00:17:27

I thought we already had unqualified teachers in schools? Labelled as instructors, and paid on a much lower scale- is this not the case?

(people such as outdoor ed instructors)

Odmedod Sun 29-Jul-12 00:25:17

But honestly, I wouldn't worry. It will have the effect of making academies even more dire, and people won't send their children to them.

EvilSynchronisedDivers Sun 29-Jul-12 10:05:41

Odmedod - given how many schools are academies (almost all in the county I live and work in) where do you suggest parents send their children as an alternative?

TalkinPeace2 Sun 29-Jul-12 11:50:26

More than half of all secondaries are now academies - and rising. It will be 3/4 within a year ....

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 29-Jul-12 20:46:47


Your arguements are only beaten in magnitude by your ignorance.


Odmedod Sun 29-Jul-12 22:47:14

Really? I hadn't realised, only a handful in my authority, fewer than 6% of schools.

niceguy2 Sun 29-Jul-12 23:23:15

I'm in two minds about this one. We need good teachers. That much is not in doubt. But does a piece of paper make a good teacher? Not necessarily.

One of the teacher's who inspired me and without whom I wouldn't be where I am today. He wasn't qualified at all. But by god could he explain things.

Given the choice I'd rather have a person who is a natural at teaching than a qualified teacher who cannot.

But quite how you determine that I've no idea. I guess giving the headteacher the option to do this 'could' be a good idea. But at the same time I can see how this could quite easily backfire.

rosabud Mon 30-Jul-12 12:55:30

Of course a piece of paper doesn't make a good teacher. A piece of paper also fails to make you a doctor/ train driver/ firefighter etc etc It's the years of training which you have to go through and PASS in order to acquire the piece of paper whch makes you a good teacher or whatever else.

You'd rather a natural teacher than a qualfied one that can't do it, but you've no idea how to determine between the two? Well that's what the piece of paper is for, it shows that you have PASSED all the training and have been assessed as able to teach.

Why are we assuming that a teaching qualification does not mean you can teach? Does a medical qualification mean you don't know how to be a doctor?? Of course not, it means you can do the job. So does a teaching qualification.

Would I like to be saved from a burning building by a naturally heroic sort of chap who blunders in and may well have a bit of luck on the day or by someone who has done lots of training and knows how fires spread and how to use all the equipment?? Hmmmm.....tough one!

CouthyMow Mon 30-Jul-12 13:00:38

100% of Secondary schools in my town will be Academies from 1st September. When DD started there 3 years ago, I chose the school partly BECAUSE it wasn't an Academy. Now for her final, most important two years of education, it will be. Choice? HA!

Also 5/7 of the local Secondaries have formed an 'Academy Consortium', run in the same way, with the same hiring terms for new staff, the same admissions criteria etc.

All of which means that there is NO element of choice in whether your child attends an Academy.

My DS's primary is also converting to Academy status on 1st September. I have no choice but to continue to send my two DS's there, as there is an extreme shortage of local primary places for DS2, already in a bulge class. He has been on waiting lists for 6 other local schools for 4 years now, and his highest position on a waiting list is 20th, one school he is 35th on the waiting list.

So no, for lots of people, there is no choice whatsoever about sending their DC's to an Academy.

CouthyMow Mon 30-Jul-12 13:05:03

And why is it that all these 'wonderful' people that Gove wants to become unqualified teachers CAN'T do a PGCE. Would it possibly be because they wouldn't PASS the PGCE and the NQT year?!.

That is what bothers me, if they would be such great teachers, then why don't they do a PGCE or a GTP? Unless they know they wouldn't pass. In which case, I don't want them teaching MY DC, thank you very much.

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


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

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

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

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!

CouthyMow Mon 30-Jul-12 23:13:04

God, I'd love to be taught CFD by Adrian Newey...

CouthyMow Mon 30-Jul-12 23:28:30

So, OlympicMix, what choice would you exercise in a town like mine where EVERY Secondary school is an Academy?

One is run by Oasis, and was the worst school in the area that everyone did their best to avoid, has ever do slightly improved results but not by much, was in the first 'wave' of Academy transfers under the previous administration. Lots of supply teachers, and probably unqualified too, certainly TA's taking GCSE classes.

Next one, recent stand-alone converter, was Outstanding school, no business backer. Too impossible to get DC's into, partly selective, rest of intake done on feeder schools.

Next 5 - converting as a group, a chain, no financial backer, despite 3/5 of the schools being one step away from Special Measures, the two Outstanding ones have been allowed to form an 'Academy Consortium', that can't even promise that the school you apply for will be the 'site' your DC is made to attend.

Lots of possibilities for making each site take one stream of pupils, leaving the DC's with SEN etc to flounder, with finances and resources all being used in the site that houses the most 'Academic' pupils. 3/5 of the chain were in buildings that aren't 'fit for purpose', and we're waiting to be rebuilt under Labour's scheme (the name eludes me right now), that the Coalition scrapped.

Then you have the two 'superselective' Grammar Academies.

The only other Secondary that will not be an Academy is the Catholic school that you have no hope of your DC attending if they were not baptised into the Catholic faith before the age of six months old.

And what about, as in my case, you chose a school partly BECAUSE it wasn't an Academy, then the school converts when your DC is in Y9 and has already started her GCSE's?

No choice there?

Olympicnmix Mon 30-Jul-12 23:53:08

Did you like dd's school before it became academy? It the head staying?

Usually when a good school goes to academy status there is little obvious change. If it's in notice to improve or special measures then there are wholesale changes. This can be to the good - my father's school is one of Labours flagship academies serving a tough area. He is employed by a number of academies as well to make their budgets balance, put forward bids for capital funding for big projects like Building Schools For the Future Programme, ensure they don't exceed 85% for staff salaries, acquire additional funding and make sure the academies observe pay and conditions. Some schools have been operating under grant-maintained and then foundation so the leap is not so great. I suspect that the good schools in good LEAs will continue to be good as they will continue to buy in their services including financial.

CouthyMow Tue 31-Jul-12 00:15:30

The problem occurs when two outstanding schools join forces with three failing schools as an Academy Consortium, will be reporting GCSE results AS a Consortium, and are reserving the right to stream by site in the future. The uniform has changed for September, they have made it practically impossible for anyone on FSM's to BUY the uniform (online only, most people on benefits even if they HAVE the Internet, don't have the capability to PAY for things online due to only having a basic bank account, am firing off letters about this to the Governors and DfE as we speak...), they are changing the admission arrangements for my DS1's intake, so I don't even know if they are going back to feeder schools, or exactly WHERE in the criteria sibling links will be, they are talking about changing term dates (so they no longer match with the Primary schools...) and the timing of the school day.

I can't see things staying the same, tbh.

CouthyMow Tue 31-Jul-12 00:17:20

And a) My LEA is far from good, and has had numerous court judgements against it, particularly in the area if SEN and illegal 'blanket policies' on assessment criteria, and b) expects to have fully wound down it's services by 2015, when it expects ALL schools, primary and secondary, to have converted...

CouthyMow Tue 31-Jul-12 00:18:07

Sorry, Autocorrect to blame for the erroneous apostrophe in 'its' there.

CouthyMow Tue 31-Jul-12 00:28:56

And my DD's school is one of the 'Outstanding' schools in the Consortium, and I feel that having three other schools to 'Mentor', as well as the additional admin caused by Academy Status, WILL see changes at the school.

And it worries me that their unparalleled SEN Dept may be funded less and less with each passing funding year. Without the help from their SEN Dept, my DD would be functionally illiterate and innumerate. My DD was given 11 hrs a week help and support in Y7, despite not being statemented (not that I haven't tried, see post about illegal blanket policies for assessment in my LEA...), despite 'only' being on SA+. She entered Y7 working TOWARDS NC Lvl 1. At the end of Y9, she is working on Level 4's in most subjects, and level 5 in two of them.

If the roof leaks on one of the other schools in the Consortium, I can only imagine that the 'easy' target to find the money is what will be perceived as an 'overfunded' SEN Dept. No other school comes anywhere close to the level of SEN time and funding that this one did pre-conversion.

But the signs are already there. Disappearing TA's, none in classes where there would have been two before.

So where will the money come from to repair 3 schools that REALLY aren't fit for purpose? One has classrooms that are unusable in the rain, if the DC's don't have an outdoor coat and an umbrella. hmm

CouthyMow Tue 31-Jul-12 00:35:19

So how do they ensure that staff budgets don't exceed 85% then? Getting rid of older, more experienced teachers? Only taking on NQT's? Taking on unqualified teachers? Using TA's to cover lessons rather than doing their actual job of helping DC's with SEN?

Can't think that those are GOOD things, necessarily, for the DC's at the school, even if they are good to make the books budget for the actual school.

OK, an NQT isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if it is at the expense of an experienced teacher that costs more, and is not there to support the NQT through that first year, it becomes more and more like the blind leading the blind IMO.

Olympicnmix Tue 31-Jul-12 10:10:59

It sounds properly dire CouthyMow, am sorry you and your dcs are in what sounds like such a crap system. What are other parents near you doing and saying? DO you know what staff are saying?

Re: the 85% of school budgets go on teachers salaries. If it exceeds that, then the school are going to be in financial trouble or not fund their pupils properly. My father on the request of the Head of one school with a massive overspend had 92% of its budget spent on salaries and they hadn't done a proper audit in years. They were massively top-heavy, had far too many assistant heads and deputy heads, far too many admin staff and were not funding their depts properly. There were paying massively over the odds for contract services on grounds maintenance, photocopying etc. Changes made were things such as paying their site team more money to take everything in house; a few expensive staff marking out their time until retirement were financially encouraged to go early, getting rid of a photocopying contract equivalent of 2.5 teachers... etc. And in overhauling every financial system and finding an additional 30k of funding they were entitled to meant he was able to increase dept budgets, SEN dept's money was ring-fenced and he then trained the bursar and financial assistant.

Depriving SN depts is a completely false economy and if I were a parent of a litigious bent I'd be making difficulties. Not all schools are like that, my father's SEN budget is enormous and ring-fenced but what is particularly galling is that provision schools ought to be providing is there but it can only be accessed by those who can afford to pay for it privately, like getting a tutor through Dyslexia Action. We have a few children who go an excellent tutor who are pulled out of school time to attend and when the Head indicated he was not happy you can imagine what the parents said!

CogitoErgOlympics Tue 31-Jul-12 12:02:55

The headteacher I heard recently advocating this approach gave the example of trying to secure qualified physics teachers. There is a shortage and - worse - those who are qualified as teachers are not necessarily well-qualified in physics. He compromised by employing someone who was unqualified as a teacher but had huge experience and excellent qualifications as a physicist. Once enrolled, this staff-member was going to complete their teaching qualification.

There must be hundreds of people out there in existing careers who would make excellent teachers but can't afford to take the time out to get the qualification. A little more flexibility has to be a good thing.

slug Tue 31-Jul-12 12:46:29

Alas the Headteacher in question will probably find that the unqualified teachers can't necessarily hack it as teachers. Skill at physics does not equal skill at teaching.

I was still working as a teacher when the first wave of redundant bankers came through the GTP and landed on my doorstep. Mentoring new teachers was one of my jobs, so I saw close up how they struggled. Not a single one lasted beyond 2 weeks. They may have been highly experienced at finance and IT, but the experience of trying to control 20 reluctant 16 year olds, let alone impart any knowledge in a structured way, defeated each and every one. They didn't have enough time to bring out the "inspired" part of their skillset, because in order to do that you need first to learn how to get all 20 students sitting down, willingly, at the same time.

Teaching is a bit like being a swan, all calm composure on the surface and frantic paddling underneath. Everyone has been in a classroom and watched teachers work and the tendency is to assume that the 20% of the job that they see is all there is to it. The natural progression from that is to think "I could do that" or "How hard could it be?" Really well planned lessons can look effortless and spontaneous but the reality is there are hours of work, though and planning that have gone into them.

CogitoErgOlympics Tue 31-Jul-12 13:11:28

The headteacher in the interview seemed very pleased with the person's progress. They were well on the way to getting the teaching qualification by learning on the job and passing on their physics knowledge in the meantime. A lot of other professions take on rookies with promise and train them in situ. Without the arrangement that particular school would be short a physics teacher of any kind... don't see how children benefit from that.

Themumsnot Tue 31-Jul-12 13:51:53

As Feenie has already pointed out on this thread, there are more ways to achieve QTS than the PGCE. The headteacher you refer to was most likely putting his Physics teacher through the GTP route, which is a perfectly valid way to achieve QTS - this is not the same thing as employing an unqualified teacher who has no intention of gaining the requisite training.

Olympicnmix Tue 31-Jul-12 14:03:03

I'd assume the physics trainee has a degree? If so, they'll be eligible to do the GTP - they have 70% timetable, have assignments to complete, join in with the school's own ITT programme and are paid about 15k before qualifying as an NQT. If they haven't then yes they can still teach & train, it depends very much on their prior experience and knowledge and the school then becomes responsible for the training.

Olympicnmix Tue 31-Jul-12 14:03:33

Sorry, xpost

CogitoErgOlympics Tue 31-Jul-12 16:07:44

"this is not the same thing as employing an unqualified teacher who has no intention of gaining the requisite training."

Why is the assumption that there is 'no intention'?

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 03-Aug-12 13:51:33


Would you get trained at at cost of £9000 per year not including living expenses if you didn't have to?

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