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Lack of teaching qualifications in staff at Free Schools

(55 Posts)
gingeroots Mon 11-Mar-13 10:36:38

One in ten teachers working in Free Schools lack a formal teaching qualification .

Does this concern people ? Is it not unusual in private sector ?

Idea of a 27 year old with no teaching qualification ,no experience of teaching being the headteacher at a primary school certainly worries me .

As does this quote from Observer article
She has already said that she will ignore the national curriculum and teach lessons "inspired by the tried and tested methods of ED Hirsch Jr", the controversial American academic behind what he calls "content-rich" learning

muminlondon Wed 26-Jun-13 07:58:25

Relevant to this discussion is the first free school to go into special measures.

Guardian article September 2010:

The 'business manager' and founder 'believes he is not obliged to employ qualified teachers.' (His wife is also a governor and headteacher.)

Ofsted May 2013:

'The leadership of teaching is inadequate. … Teaching is not checked regularly to make sure it is as good as it needs to be. The headteacher reported to inspectors that she does not have the skills to do this. ... Governance is inadequate. Governors are not knowledgeable enough about the school’s serious shortcomings.'

Surprising incompetence at the DfE in letting a husband and wife team lacking in teaching and leadership skills be both governors and managers of a school.

Minifingers Tue 25-Jun-13 19:22:38

"a lot of it appears to be general classroom management and some other things that unions consider important at the moment, but can be easily learned by a bright teacher while working"

Have you done a PGCE? Do you actually know what the course involves or are you having a wild guess?

And you think it's unnecessary to have some prior understanding of classroom management techniques before starting work as a teacher?

There is NO WAY I could have stepped into a classroom in a rough comprehensive and managed to keep my head above water in the first year without having done a PGCE. Classroom management is the most challenging aspect of becoming a teacher (unless you teach in a nice little private school and have a class of 14 well behaved and hard working pupils, in which case it's pretty irrelevant). Planning and dealing with behaviour issues are the meat and potatoes of a PGCE. I would truly have hated to be put 'cold' into a classroom in my first year and have had to learn these things on the job, while also having a normal teaching workload.

Minifingers Tue 25-Jun-13 19:13:09

As the parent of an unstatemented child with special needs in mainstream schooling, I shudder at the thought of untrained teachers taking him for lessons.

Lots of people can 'teach' in the sense that they are good at explaining things to children, are creative, and are effective planners. Many parents have these qualities or develop them as their children grow up. But delivering differentiated learning to 31 children of different abilities and from a range of backgrounds, with no formal knowledge of theories of learning? Sorry - I'm not convinced.

CecilyP Tue 25-Jun-13 16:58:30

But how would anyone know if they are a natural teacher. A PGCE course gives a people a chance to find this out.

MrWalker Tue 25-Jun-13 12:57:44

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

muminlondon Tue 25-Jun-13 08:22:17

Whether you train within a teaching school or are based in a teacher training college with blocks of teaching practice, you need proper training and support. A degree is also important - not ex-soldiers without degrees training in two years:

englishteacher78 Tue 25-Jun-13 06:33:34

It is also getting harder (rightly in my opinion) to get on the PGCE courses. Whilst a 2:1 or a first does not necessarily make someone a good teacher, a certain level of enthusiasm and ability should be demonstrated by someone wishing to teach a subject.
In Finland, widely regarded as an excellent education system, teachers need to be educated to Masters level.

sashh Tue 25-Jun-13 03:21:46


You have no idea do you?

Do you know about special need?
Extension work?
Child protection law / policies / procedures?

Oh and you can convert any degree to be a lawyer in just one year of a course that is easy to get on.

Lizzzar Mon 24-Jun-13 22:45:00

If teachers have a good degree, I personally don't see why having or not having a PGCE in addition will make much difference to their teaching ability - a lot of it appears to be general classroom management and some other things that unions consider important at the moment, but can be easily learned by a bright teacher while working. A one year certificate that is relatively easy to get on does not make most teachers the equivalent of doctors and lawyers - maybe they should have that kind of status, but it would take more than a PGCE requirement to do it. Teachers ultimately teach well because they enjoy what they are doing, and have reasonable education and abilities themselves. Unfortunately many state schools still have lots of struggling children despite having a QTS requirement for their teachers.

muminlondon Thu 14-Mar-13 20:07:02

A good debate is fine but I counted about eight associated with Civitas/Pimlico Academy alone (although sponsor John Nash has since been made DfE director) and other organisations only sent one or two representatives.

Bonsoir Thu 14-Mar-13 19:42:26

It is a good thing when outsiders contribute to the education debate. Schools and their curriculum should not be the exclusive preserve of educators.

muminlondon Thu 14-Mar-13 19:11:51

I'm sure a well qualified teacher could dip into it, and I like some of the poetry - it seems particularly aimed at home educators and parents. Experienced teachers will have lots of examples of materials that motivate children. But I am a little wary when politicians and thinktanks pile in to promote a certain methodology in schools to the exclusion of other methods - like phonics, good idea, but not neceassarily exclusively, and testing six year-olds on made-up words reminds me of the disaster that was ITA.

She still doesn't seem to have spent a lot of time in classrooms, however, but does seem to be connected to lots of politically influential people (including Boris Johnson's education enquiry where Civitas, Pimlico Academy and the Curriculum Centre were very well represented (more than borough education directors) along with Toby Young, Katherine Burbalsingh, etc.

bidibidi Thu 14-Mar-13 15:55:42

Having peeked inside, I am unconvinced that the 3 Wise men of Gotham or knowing what a Ziggurat is are that essential skills for modern children/people.

VinegarDrinker Thu 14-Mar-13 12:20:12

I am no Free Schools fan. But, as someone else has mentioned, there are "unqualified" teachers who are actually highly qualified and experienced, just don't have QTS, as well as those who really are "unqualified".

My DH is an "unqualified" teacher. He's a primary music specialist with a BA, MMus, LRAM and lots of relevant teaching experience. I wish he had QTS because he could earn a lot more (he is essentially paid on the TA scale), but I don't think it would make a jot of difference to his skills in the classroom.

And yes, as mentioned upthread, it is very common in private schools to have unqualified teachers.

Bonsoir Thu 14-Mar-13 12:09:53

In a statistically meaningful sample of 3 wink

CecilyP Thu 14-Mar-13 11:51:45

It's no big deal, just amused me that's all. It did represent 33.3% of the reviews though.

Bonsoir Thu 14-Mar-13 11:18:44

Gosh, do you take Amazon reviews as Gospel shock?

CecilyP Thu 14-Mar-13 11:14:28

I have no need to. The poster of the third review did and was not impressed.

Bonsoir Thu 14-Mar-13 10:43:18

Buy the book (as I have) and judge for yourself.

Honestly, it is so far removed from rote learning, memorisation of facts etc that the criticisms are laughable.

CecilyP Thu 14-Mar-13 10:07:50

^You can look inside here.

I would have been delighted for this book to have formed the basis of what school covered with my child in Y2.^

I don't know; the third review is none too positive.

Xenia Thu 14-Mar-13 10:07:40

That is not how I am but I do think some parents aren't aware of what much better schools are available particularly if women work full time and earn enough to pay school fees so it is worth drawing it to their attention. No need to accept mediocrity.

Bonsoir Thu 14-Mar-13 10:02:05

Xenia constantly wants something to boast and name-drop about. There is no boasting and name-dropping potential in a new school...

Mintyy Thu 14-Mar-13 10:00:38

Lol at Xenia's valuable contribution to this thread.

gingeroots Thu 14-Mar-13 09:54:09

Thanks Bonsoir .

Hard to judge I think without reading more ,and of course no knowing what the curriculum will be like at Pimlico Primary as I believe it's to based on this line of thinking rather than slavishly following .

I confess I was put off by the tone ( smacked to me a little of religious fervour ) and of course comments about how vague and unspecified the curriculum in primary schools cannot be applied to UK .

I've worked in a primary school as a TA and the curriculum was enormously prescribed ,every detail specified ,what needed to be learnt ,consolidated before the next stage tackled all listed .

I remember the despair of teachers when children were off because their absence meant that they'd missed a vital building block .

Bonsoir Thu 14-Mar-13 09:15:48

You can look inside here.

I would have been delighted for this book to have formed the basis of what school covered with my child in Y2.

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