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Do you think that primary teachers should have a degree?

(268 Posts)
Rumpel Mon 28-Dec-15 14:38:04

I am relying on the wealth of experience and strong opinions of all you Mnetters out there to discuss this topic so that I can see how the general opinion lies. TIA smile

Lauren15 Mon 28-Dec-15 14:45:27

Umm....yes. If you aren't capable of a degree then you're not intelligent enough to teach. Teaching is a very demanding profession.

Noteventhebestdrummer Mon 28-Dec-15 14:48:01

Lots of smart people don't have degrees.
It's not essential for a head teacher to have one IMHO but they need to have demonstrable skills, especially in communication.

Lj8893 Mon 28-Dec-15 14:50:38

Yes I think so. Teaching is a profession, and generally most professions do require a degree nowadays.

Gooseysgirl Mon 28-Dec-15 14:52:34

Yea of course!

CremeEggThief Mon 28-Dec-15 14:52:50

Of course. If you are going to educate others, you need to be a good role model of an educated person yourself.

Gooseysgirl Mon 28-Dec-15 14:53:17

Yes not yea

mercifulTehlu Mon 28-Dec-15 14:53:37

I don't know actually. Just because you need to be intelligent enough to do a degree doesn't necessarily mean you have to actually have one. And there's an argument to say that the level of the material you teach at primary, combined with the fact that you're teaching a broad range of subjects rather than just one, makes a degree in a specific subject a bit irrelevant.

Mitfordhons Mon 28-Dec-15 14:55:17

Yes an I also think that secondary school teachers should have a degree in the subject they teach.

tabulahrasa Mon 28-Dec-15 14:56:35

They don't? Oh...

"They do up here in Scotland.
And there's an argument to say that the level of the material you teach at primary, combined with the fact that you're teaching a broad range of subjects rather than just one, makes a degree in a specific subject a bit irrelevant."

Depends, if that subject is education then it's not irrelevant.

tabulahrasa Mon 28-Dec-15 14:57:44

Lol, messed up my punctuation there...there are in Scotland was me, not part of the post I was quoting, obviously.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Mon 28-Dec-15 14:58:50

Neither of my parents had a degree and they were both very successful primary teachers. (When they trained, the qualification they studied for was a diploma I believe)

It was perhaps harder to get onto a degree course in those days though?

I agree it's a demanding job and I think we should be looking to fill teaching posts with bright and capable teachers.

BoboChic Mon 28-Dec-15 14:59:04


My DD had a couple of teachers in primary who didn't have a degree - they were older teachers on the cusp of retirement who had trained (in France) under an older non-degree route to teaching. The difference between them and degree holder teachers was pretty massive.

teacherwith2kids Mon 28-Dec-15 15:01:31

Yes - though I would say that it is possibly debatable in the Foundation stage, which includes Reception. I think it is entirely possible to be an exceptional Early Years practitioner without necessarily having a degree.

I also think there is a discussion around whether 'teaching degrees' (BEd) are a better or worse preparation for being a teacher in the long term than non-teaching degrees (BA or BSc) followed by initial teacher training via PGCE, teach first, SCITT or similar.

IME, BEd students going into primary teaching are often better prepared at the beginning of their career, as they have focused more on the 'craft' of teaching and pedagogy. However, depending on the exact year of entry, the requirements for some BEd courses are low, by degree standards, and so over time, especially in upper juniors or schools with very able cohorts, it can be that good graduates from other degrees 'overtake' this initial advantage and do very well.

As an upper primary teacher in a school with a highly able cohort, I have had BEd students on placement who have struggled with the content of the curriculum, especially subjects they may not have studied to GCSE (history / geography) or in Maths, where some young children can achieve very highly indeed given the right teaching (less true of e.g. English, where a degree of maturity is needed to fully appreciate e.g,. higher level texts). Part of the challenge of primary teaching is being a 'jack of all trades', and the academic ability to master new subjects quickly and in depth, and then to communicate them in an engaging and differentiated way is important.

All that said, a mature applicant, with e.g. years of being a teaching assistant, a good set of academic A-levels, and excellent English and Maths skills, might well make a good teacher after SCITT / PGCE training, but that would have to be a decision made on an individual level, not a 'blanket' no degree needed decision.

Scarydinosaurs Mon 28-Dec-15 15:04:07

A person can be intelligent without a degree- but it is proof of organisation and a level of intelligence that is required in order to cope with the challenges of teaching.

I would be horrified if a teacher without a degree was in charge of a class of children. Especially in the current climate where most people have a degree.

teacherwith2kids Mon 28-Dec-15 15:04:24

"Neither of my parents had a degree and they were both very successful primary teacher"

I think it's very difficult to make comparisons with earlier generations - the job of a primary teacher, not to mention the expectations of the curriculum to be taught to primary children, has changed massively over the years.

hollieberrie Mon 28-Dec-15 15:04:32

Hmm. Well probably yes, but 2 of the best teachers in my school are terrible at spelling and are not very academic all round but they just have that "thing", natural teaching skills and an instant connection with the kids which makes them amazing teachers. They consistently get the best results and are graded outstanding amount not lesson observations.
I have a good degree from a red brick uni. I'm a good teacher but I've had to work hard at it. I'm not a natural.

Scarydinosaurs Mon 28-Dec-15 15:05:09

Sorry- not most people have a degree- where more people have a degree

Sparklycat Mon 28-Dec-15 15:05:34

Yes. If you take the need for a degree out of the teaching profession you are taking away even more of its status than has already been worn away by the government and public perception. Teaching is so important and should not be devalued by anyone thinking they can do it, I know of many who have come late for other professions thinking it would be easy and got a very large shock!

hollieberrie Mon 28-Dec-15 15:05:56

*outstanding in lesson observations

SirChenjin Mon 28-Dec-15 15:07:29

God yes - I thought all primary school teachers had to have a degree now? confused Degrees are the basic entry requirement for professions these days, so I'd be really concerned if teachers were exempt from this - esp. given their role. I'd also prefer High School teachers to have experience of working in their field before becoming teachers too (as far as possible).

BoboChic Mon 28-Dec-15 15:08:01

Degrees aren't merely an indicator of intelligence. They train minds, and that training enables people to acquire new skills through experience and self-directed learning/study.

teacherwith2kids Mon 28-Dec-15 15:09:15

"They train minds, and that training enables people to acquire new skills through experience and self-directed learning/study."

Bobo, I don't often agree with you, but exactly this!

BertrandRussell Mon 28-Dec-15 15:15:03

Do you mean a degree in teaching or in another subject followed by teacher training?

Readysteadyknit Mon 28-Dec-15 15:19:26

I think they should have a degree but that we need to look at teacher training generally. I find that some teachers have quite weak understanding of teaching early literacy and numeracy skills which are obviously fundamental building blocks. Understanding of SEN also varies enormously from school to school.

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