Unqualified teachers: Should they be employed?


In the news recently you may have heard that the government has decided to relax the rules to allow academies to employ unqualified teachers.

Is this right?

Should unqualified teacher be allowed to teach?

Should all teachers be qualified? 

The qualified teacher status (QTS) standards and initial teacher training (ITT) requirements, that apply to all ITT programmes, are imposed by the Secretary of State under the Education (School Teachers’ Qualifications) (England) Regulations 2003, made under sections 132, 145 and 210 of the Education Act 2002.

They set out:

  • The Secretary of State’s standards, which must be met by trainee teachers before they can be awarded QTS, and
  • The requirements for initial teacher training providers and those who make recommendations for the award of QTS.

Only those trainee teachers who have met all of the standards can be awarded QTS.

This means they are qualified to teach.

The big question that we are all toying with at the moment is whether this is right.

Should a school be able to employ someone who has not gone through the appropriate training?

Norfolk and Suffolk’s head teachers’ give their views.

Brian Conway, head teacher at Notre Dame High School in Norwich which took on academy status earlier this year:

I think it would be highly unlikely that we would consider using staff without QTS to teach at Notre Dame. It is a mark of quality if you have got someone who has been through the full teacher training process and you can guarantee that they are actually trained properly and they know the philosophy of education.

David Brunton, principal at City Academy Norwich in Earlham, said:

I believe at the moment that young teachers with PGCE are better prepared than ever to join the teaching profession. However, there are some naturally gifted communicators who do not have QTS. Therefore, if we had worked with such a person in advance of a formal contract being offered, we would consider employing them. Teaching is not just about being knowledgeable in a subject, it is about being able to connect with others to share that knowledge. These attributes can be both learned and innate.”

Rachel de Souza, principal at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, Norwich, said:

many schools already had instructors who would go on to gain QTS on the job and did not believe the announcement represented a big change. She said: “It would work at Victory because we are so committed to the professional development of the teachers we have got. We have got a year-long professional training programme for every single member of staff. Teachers, in the main, keep on learning for the first five years of their teaching – they are like sponges. Schools do not get the finished article when they start.”

Jeremy Rowe, head teacher at Sir John Leman High School in Beccles, described the idea as:

“unbelievable”. He said: “On-the-job training has been a really good development but the idea that you can come in and teach on day one without any background or any training is appalling to me. It lets down the students we are teaching” “I’m assuming teaching is no longer a profession, according to this government. Do you still need maths and English? If people want to become teachers – and they should because it’s a brilliant profession – then train on the job or go out and do a course. The idea that you can bypass that is extraordinary.”

My Personal view

As a newly qualified teacher I believe that unqualified teachers should not be employed as teacher. I fully advocate schools employing unqualified teachers as GTP student as long as they are mentored by a qualified teacher and they sit the relevant tests to gain QTS.

Before becoming a teacher I did 3 years at University gaining a Bachelor degree and then continued by studying for a MSc Masters Degrees.  I then did a 1 year ITT course at the Leicester and Leicestershire SCITT (school Centred Initial Teacher Training) to get to the stage I am now.

Following this I managed to get myself a job within a local Primary school. I completed my NQT years here and became the PE leaders in my second year.

To get to this point in my career I have spent 5 years at university with a further 1 year as an NQT. Then a year as a fully qualified teacher.  So in total it took 6 years for me to become a fully qualified teacher and 7 years to get to where I am presently.

I know there are lots of people out there who have the skills to become teachers but I believe they need to prove these within a training program. I fully advocate schools mentoring candidates but I believe they need to demonstrate their teaching skills in a quantifiable way (Like teachers do on ITT course ) Although I do believe there needs to be a more open approach to this. I think a school should be able to employ an unqualified teacher and they should be allowed to teacher alone or to fill the job of a teacher but they need be aiming for full QTS.

The process of gaining QTS should be about the person demonstrating that they have the correct skills to become a teacher.  QTS should be more open and should be the culmination of the individual demonstrating that they are able to teach.

Overall I believe all teachers need to be qualified but I also believe there needs to be more ways that are not so academically driven for people to become teachers.

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