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Unemployed teacher levels ‘a disgrace’

by Sam Phipps

Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond has admitted the level of unemployed teachers in the country is “too high” after figures showed only 30 per cent of newly qualified staff had secured a permanent post by March. A survey by the General

Teaching Council for Scotland found that a further 29 per cent had landed temporary posts and 26 per cent were supply teachers. Labour leader Iain Gray said the

figures were “certainly a disgrace” and blamed his SNP counterpart for failing in his three years in govern- ment to deliver the extra teachers Scottish pupils needed. “The truth is three out of four

new teachers cannot find a perma- nent full-time job,” Mr Gray said

at First Minister’s Questions. We trained these teachers, parents want them in our schools, pupils need them in front of them teaching them right now.” The SNP leader admitted that

teachers’ ability to find employment after they had completed their pro- bationary year was a “huge concern of the government”. The jobless rate among teach-

ers was “too high”, he said, but added that the rate of unemploy- ment in Scotland was much lower than in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. Mr Salmond also claimed that

approaching 90 per cent of NQTs were in work, a tally reached by adding supply and part-time to full- time staff. However, Mr Gray dismissed

the first minister’s claim as “pure and simple spin”, saying the total

“includes, for example, teachers who are on a supply list sitting at home hoping the telephone might ring so they might get a day’s work”. Mr Salmond countered that

Labour were crying “crocodile tears for unemployed teachers” and said many councils where fewer NQTs were being taken on were run by Mr Gray’s own party. Unions have vented frustration

at the high rate of teacher unem- ployment, saying it jeopardises the ability of schools to meet pupils’ needs at a time when major changes to the Scottish curriculum are under way. In March, a specialist recruit-

ment firm launched a campaign to hire Scottish teachers in and around London, offering perks such as free flights, extra pay and rent allowance for those prepared to move south.

CPD hub schools offer teachers one-stop-shop

A network of schools designed to act as a one-stop-shop to meet the CPD needs of teachers and school leaders across England has been launched. The Leadership and Innovation

Academy (LIA) operates through 17 “hub” schools to provide nation- al, regional and local training, and offer school staff access to a range of events created and delivered by leading headteachers. The LIA also offers tailored

training to meet individual and regional school needs, and features a virtual learning environment to allow participants to access study modules online all year around, as well as enabling them to create networking forums to share ideas and work on joint projects. The programme was devel-

oped by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT), in associa- tion with headteachers, and aims to: • Support teachers to be “leaders of learning”, by exploring and developing pedagogical practice.

• Help teachers to be innovators by “doing things differently in order to do them better”.

• Close the gap between schools and within schools by enabling staff to work together more effectively.

• Address the succession planning

St Jude’s Church, Dulwich Road Herne Hill, London SE24 0PB

One-stop-shop: David Carter, executive principal at the Cabot Learning Federation in Bristol, one of 17 new hub schools

agenda by creating the next generation of school leaders. The LIA was piloted in

three areas, including the South West, where the Cabot Learning Federation in Bristol was selected as the hub. The Federation, which consists

of three academy schools in east Bristol, worked with local author- ities to offer middle leader pro- grammes in Somerset and Bristol earlier this year. Eighteen events, which includ- ed personalising learning and

using data to improve perform- ance, were held as twilight ses- sions in local schools, while par- ticipants also took part in a study visit to a top school in the area to explore innovative approaches to development plans. David Carter, executive principal

of Cabot Learning Federation, said: “It gives us an excellent opportunity not only to share some of the strate- gies that have worked well for us but in addition gives us the chance to learn from the best practice of other schools both in the South West and around the country.” Elizabeth Reid, chief execu-

tive of the SSAT, said: “Successful schools know that to provide the best education for each student, teachers and school leaders need access to the best professional development opportunities. “It is important these activities

do not take teachers away from school or reduce their valuable time with students. “The LIA makes it easier for

schools to find the most relevant training locally, delivered by out- standing headteachers who under- stand their needs and at a time that suits them.” For more information, including

your nearest hub school, visit www.

What has your school banned?

Tippex, trading cards, caffeinated drinks and brightly coloured hair dye may not sound like the most dangerous items, but they have all been placed on the banned list by headteachers across the UK. Energy drinks have been out-

lawed by Crestwood School in Stourbridge amid concerns that the highly caffeinated drinks are causing students to become dis- ruptive. Speaking to the Stourbridge

News, headteacher Maxine Suthons said she had noticed an increase in the number of chil- dren – particularly boys – who were bringing the drinks on to the school site. “Energy drinks raise the heart

rate and speed up the metabolism, which – as young healthy people – our pupils should not need,” she told the newspaper. The story got us thinking

about what else is banned in our schools and so we undertook a quick SecEd survey and uncov- ered some unorthodox items that have made it to the banned list.

Rachel Pattisson, a teacher

in the north east of England, recalled a list of items deemed inappropriate. She told us: “Tippex was an

odd one. Partly it was because of the solvents, but mostly it was the horrible mess the children make in their books when a simple line through the error would do. “Mobile phones, sweets

and also swap cards were also banned from time to time because they started to cause too many arguments!” Another teacher in Liverpool

told us her school had banned hair dye that wasn’t “naturally coloured”, and had gone one step further than Crestwood School by making all fizzy drinks illegal. Other banned items SecEd has

heard about include brightly col- oured Bermuda shorts and virtual “Tamagochi” pets, which proved too much of a distraction for stu- dents during lesson time. What has your school banned?

Email chris.parr@markallen

Would these items be acceptable at your school?

• Tippex: “Partly the solvents but mostly the horrible mess the children make in their books when a simple line through the error would do.”

• Trading cards: “Too many arguments.” • Fizzy drinks: “Lead to hyperactive students.” • Radical hair dye: “Students’ hair must be of a natural colour.” • Brightly coloured Bermuda shorts.

The longer they stay in power, the less they listen to evidence

MA Education Ltd is an independent publishing company also responsible for education titles Delivering Diplomas, Headteacher Update, Fundraising for Schools, Early Years Educator and 5to7 Educator.

© All rights reserved. No part of SecEd may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior written permission of MA Education The publisher accepts no responsibility for any views or opinions expressed in SecEd.

ISSN 1479-7704

The longer they stay in power, the less attention governments pay to evidence and research when for- mulating education policy, new research claims. Instinct or Reason, a report pub-

lished by the CfBT Education Trust, claims that the gap between evi- dence and legislation grows wider in the later stages of a government, and also alleges that media attention to short-term issues can create “severe difficulties” for policy-making. The report, which interviewed


former ministers, education civil servants and academics, states: “Both Tony Blair and Barack Obama entered power commit- ted to evidence-based policy, to implementing what works. David Blunkett (Blair’s first education secretary) established a unit specifi- cally to judge the effectiveness of policy. But as the years pass, we were told, governments show an increasing inclination to downplay evidence.” One of the reasons, according

to the report, is the reliability of the evidence that governments receive. It continues: “Some of our wit-

nesses said that a major problem with using evidence for educational policy was that there was little useful stuff about. More than one senior civil servant commented critically on the availability of worthwhile research, comparing the resources available to education departments unfavourably with the useful material accessed by other government departments.” Another expert claimed that

“until research becomes more timely and relevant, politicians will continue to ignore it”. As for the media, the report

claims that government departments now house “hundreds (of press officers) who are more concerned with image and sound bites than the careful weighing of evidence”. Among the contributors was

Dr John Dunford, general secre- tary of the Association of School and College Leaders, who told the researchers: “Electoral tactics have

taken precedence over educational logic.” Introducing the report, Estelle

Morris, former secretary of state for education, said the relationship between education policy-making and evidence was “not an easy one”. She added: “Given how impor-

tant education is, we know rela- tively little about how key policies are made.” For more on the report, visit SecEd • June 10 2010

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