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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.

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?

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'?

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

Sorry, xpost

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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!

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.

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 00:18:07

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

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 00:15:30

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.

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 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?

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

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

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!

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?

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?

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 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 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.

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.

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

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