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Private schools use unqualified teachers - but are they really any good?

(431 Posts)
Talkinpeace Mon 21-Oct-13 13:35:08

One of the justifications for Free Schools etc being allowed to use non qualified teachers is that Private schools do so and get great results.

However, are the great results because those non qualified people are really better?
or is it because they are handed heavily selected cohorts to teach?

This can be tested.

Take two schools of similar size and age range, one that is fee paying and the other that is fully comprehensive
say Eton and Wallingford school in Oxfordshire (fast search for 11-18 leafy)
and swap the whole of the teaching staff for a fortnight - to run a whole timetable cycle.
TAs and support staff would stay put so the places kept going
but the whole staff from each school would teach the other's timetable.

How would they cope?

My hypothesis
The state school teachers would be pleasantly surprised that a lot of the private school kids were pretty normal.
The state school teachers would get some good ideas about how to make extension work more useful
Some of the private school teachers would rise to the challenge and come up with new ideas
most would be eaten alive by lower ability kids.

So, could a TV company make it happen?
What are your hypotheses?

rabbitstew Tue 29-Oct-13 17:42:35

Funnily enough, experience and innate suitability is what makes a person good at whatever career they pursue. However, it is expensive and time consuming for employers to advertise for jobs, interview and recruit, so not something they will want to be repeating too often as they realise they've recruited untested duds... There should be some sorting of the wheat from the chaff before people get in front of our children to teach. Assessing the quality of someone's undergraduate degree and the level of their English and maths skills is not a sorting of the wheat from the chaff - unless, of course, they did a degree in teaching... At least the PGCE requires you to have made a very active choice that you wish to teach, to have got onto a course (and I'm sure some providers are better than others), to have had supervised work experience in several schools, to have been assessed by several people prior to even getting to interviewing for a "proper job" and to have taken time to study and consider what teaching is about, work with various teachers, experience more than one school (and therefore to realise how different they all are). I would rather that and a piece of paper to prove it than having to interview hundreds of people off the street who all claim they have what it takes to make a brilliant teacher, so why not give them a go?

abbiefield Tue 29-Oct-13 18:15:49

In my experience ( and I cannot speak outside of that but it does cross several schools), it seems that motivations to get onto a PGCE or teacher training course are not always to do with seeing it as a suitable career or even guided by any genuine desire to teach often.

It seems sometimes its " something to do", " there was a bursary", " I got paid" "there wasnt anything else going", or even my original motivation "it fits in with my lifestyle right now ( family)...... but at leastI had taught previously and did know I could do it, allbeit at university level.

abbiefield Tue 29-Oct-13 18:18:39

By the way,I would not necessarily decry any of the above motivations as they have ,aslong as I can remember, been the motivations for teaching in many cases.

The reasons for staying though are often diffeent. Hence picking a teacher who has experience and shown staying power might indicate their suitability more readily.

But someone has to have the trainees and NQT's I agree. But that is true in all occupations.

Talkinpeace Tue 29-Oct-13 18:25:27

Interesting article I read over the weekend
Korea does amazingly in the tests
the intensity of learning is not paying off for many
wait ten years and their attitude will have changed

abbiefield Tue 29-Oct-13 18:34:52

Interesting Talkingpeace . I have a wry smile when people tell meabout other systems ( like Finland <g>) and now Korea.

I mentioned above how my own school takes some international pupils. Recently we have had a few ( count on one hand) Koreans.

It does seem apparently that the university system there , which allocates students according to their exam results on that big exam can be circumvented by straight A* and A grades in our A levels.

The children we seem to have in my school arethose whose parents have wealth and whose children have been failing in the system. It is a great shame on a family if a child is failing in their culture ( as in many SE Asian cultures still). They send them here, we get them A grades at A level and they return home to the best universities and on track for careers. Or sometimes they stay and go to our universities.

The children work amazingly hard. But they do have a particular way of learning. The same goes for many E Europeans I have taught in recent years.

straggle Sun 03-Nov-13 07:37:01

I've found more info now about PISA and socio-economic context of private schools here. Around one-tenth of the advantage is as a result do competition and higher levels of autonomy but more than three-quarters of that advantage can be attributed to 'the ability to attract socio-economically advantaged students'.

The Economist is suggesting when the new PISA study is published next month Sweden will continue to fall down the tables with more poorly paid teachers and more inequality.

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