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SecEd The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Inside this issue

From good to outstanding

A new report from CfBT seeks to answer that crucial question for many heads – how do you move from Ofsted good to Ofsted outstanding? Pages 8 and 9

Fears over future of QTS under coalition

Issue 286 • June 9 2011 Price £1.00

Scrapping of QTS requirements for free schools and overseas teachers ‘undermines professionalism’

Special report by Dorothy Lepkowska Working together

We visit a National Challenge Trust in Liverpool to find out how two schools have been working together to raise standards across the board Page 13

CPD on Twitter

Networking and CPD has taken on a whole new meaning with the advent of social media. Paul Ainsworth offers his advice Page 15

Scottish anger

Teachers are furious in Scotland after the acceptance of changes to their pay and conditions. Sam Phipps reports on the ongoing row Page 6


and Twitter Thousands of teachers are reading SecEddigital, a virtual edition of SecEd, which is emailed out every week. You can sign up for free by emailing SecEd news and features are now also available on Twitter. You can follow us at www.

Academic standards and the professionalism of teachers are being undermined by the government’s erosion of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), it has been claimed. Teachers’ leaders are angry

with plans by ministers to allow some overseas teachers to work in English schools automatically with- out undergoing any further training or assessment. Those coming from Australia,

Canada, New Zealand and the United States will have their home qualifications recognised as valid and similar concessions will be extended to other Commonwealth countries at a later date, Michael Gove, the education secretary, announced last month. This comes on top of an earlier

decision that staff working in free schools will not need to have QTS. Instead the schools will have the freedom to employ people “they believe are best equipped to deliver their unique educational vision”. Academies already are not required to hire staff with QTS. Both leadership and teaching

unions are angry about the issue, and were left further confused last week when, in answering a Parliamentary question, schools minister Nick Gibb said that some SEN staff in free schools would have to have QTS after all. He did not add whether this would apply for academies. Mr Gibb said in his statement:

“We will not be setting overly pre- scriptive requirements in relation to qualifications, although a free school’s SENCO and designated teacher for children in care will still require QTS. “We will expect applications to

demonstrate how each free school's governing body intends to guaran- tee the highest quality of teaching and leadership in their school. No school will be allowed to proceed

unless its proposals for high quality teaching are soundly based.” Chris Keates, general sec-

retary of the NASUWT, said the announcement would cause confu- sion and called for all teachers to be required to have QTS. She told SecEd that teachers

are “horrified” that the benchmark professional qualification is under threat. She said: “Despite Michael

Gove’s belief that all you need to teach is a top degree from a Russell Group university, QTS is a rigorous, internationally recog- nised qualification. You need QTS for accountability and to have a measurement that people have met at least a basic standard for the classroom.” Ms Keates said she feared that

the future of QTS was now under serious threat: “Once you start nib- bling away at the edges you are undermining teachers’ status and professionalism.” She added that the changes

would also cause “chaos and con- fusion” around the UK, as the new concessions applied only to England. Brian Lightman, general secre-

tary of the Association for School and College Leaders, said there was no justification for different requirements for free schools and others. “There is a certain level of pro-

ficiency that teachers are expected to have achieved, and qualifications like QTS are a shorthand way for schools to ensure that teachers meet the standard,” he said. Meanwhile, Dr Mary Bousted,

general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said QTS was important in understand- ing the particular demands of the English education system and it was not enough for overseas teach- ers to have equivalent qualifications from their own countries. Writing in SecEd this week (see

page 14, Union address), she said: “We all want to have the best teach-

ers working in schools in the UK. It is good to have a diverse range of teachers from different back- grounds, cultures and experience. “But everyone teaching in

England needs to understand the education system and its very differ- ent curriculum and assessment sys- tem. Teachers need to understand and be able to implement these if they are going to be effective in the classroom. There needs to be some assessment of their capacity to do so, and these teachers have the right to be supported and trained.” However, she conceded that

ever-increasingly numbers of over- seas teachers might be needed to “fill the gaps” left by home gradu- ates who then couldn’t afford to go into teacher training. A study carried out for the

National Union of Teachers (NUT) earlier this year found that 89 per cent of parents wanted their child to be taught by a graduate who was a fully qualified teacher, while 86 per cent thought that every

publicly funded school should employ only qualified teachers. Almost 80 per cent believed

that employing non-qualified staff was designed to save money and had nothing to do with improving standards. Furthermore, four out of five

respondents said they would not send their child to a school that did not require its teachers to have professional qualifications, while three-quarters said they believed standards would deteriorate if teachers were not qualified. Christine Blower, the NUT’s

general secretary, said: “Yet again we see the government’s proposals for education in this country going against what the public wants. This survey clearly shows that the major- ity of people want children to be taught by a qualified teacher. “The only conclusion that can

be drawn is that the government is yet again cynically implementing policy that is ideologically driven and has nothing to do with improv- ing education standards. “Ministers must be made to

realise that to continue down this route of wilfully dismantling and destroying our education system is unacceptable.” But Sara Bubb, an education

consultant and senior lecturer in education at London University’s Institute of Education, believes that schools will not shun QTS. She said: “I cannot see free

schools taking off as it’s a bit of a mad idea and where QTS is concerned it is more about what schools should do, than what the government allows them to do. This is merely a sexy vote-winner aimed at a certain group of middle class parents who are dissatisfied with their child’s school. But the reality will be quite different. “Any free school employing

unqualified staff would be foolish in the extreme. “They will be aware that parents

need to have faith in the school and to know that teachers are experi- enced if they are going to send their children there.”

UK news n SecEd: On Your Side n Independent thinking n Union address n NQT diary n Managing ICT n At the chalkface

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