Unqualified teachers – what next?

In 2012, Michael Gove permitted schools to hire professionals, such as musicians, scientists and engineers to teach even if the individual didn’t have qualified teacher status (QTS). According to research revealed last week by the shadow Education Secretary, Tristram Hunt, there are now 17,100 unqualified teachers in state-funded schools (a 16% rise in the last year).

The use of unqualified teachers has always been met with a level of criticism: that pupils are being taught by teachers who may have no training in key areas of teaching and learning, behaviour management or safeguarding, which could be damaging to their schooling experience.

The Labour Party are pledging to reverse Michael Gove’s policy. A recent statement says: “Labour will reverse the unqualified teachers policy and put teaching standards first, with our ambition of a world-class teacher in every classroom. We will ensure that all teachers become properly qualified, continue to build their skills and are able to pursue new career pathways that keep the best teachers in the classrooms.”

The Labour Party are not alone: The Liberal Democrats have also broken with the Conservatives. Their manifesto states that they will ensure all teachers are either be fully qualified or be working towards qualification.

Furthermore, the NASUWT union last week revealed the results of their recent survey – out of more than 1,000 parents, 95% believe their child should not be taught by an unqualified teacher.

The focus on this issue in recent weeks will inevitably be causing unqualified teachers, and head teachers who employ unqualified teachers, to think twice about the future.

For many unqualified teachers, route to qualification is straightforward: if a teacher has taught in two or more schools, and has had three or more years teaching experience, it is possible that they will be eligible to qualify by the Assessment Only (AO) route. This route normally takes one term and requires the teacher to present a portfolio with their relevant experience, which is assessed against QTS standards. The teacher will also need to be assessed in the classroom to ensure the breadth and depth of their experience. We have extensive experience delivering AO and we are an accredited and approved provider.

If an unqualified teacher does not meet the requirements for AO, they may be able to qualify via the School Direct or School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) routes, which they can complete in one academic year whilst remaining in school.

If you have unqualified teachers in your classrooms and would like to know more about the different qualification options, please get in contact with me – itt@educate.co.uk, or fill in the enquiry form below.

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