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As part of new education reforms to make life harder for pupils and tougher on teachers, the Government now plans to scrap QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) for trainee teachers.
Currently, a trainee teacher receives QTS at the end of a teaching course. Instead, the Government wants headteachers to decide when trainees are ready to teach in the big wide world.
Under the new reforms, potential teachers must prove they are ready by demonstrating good subject knowledge and the ability to handle little terrors. They will also spend more time in the classroom getting practical experience.
Of course, more practical experience is good – teachers need to be prepared – but is now the time to introduce tougher measures when there is already a shortage of teachers? Surely people should be encouraged to get a career in teaching rather than push them away?
Call me cynical, but this could be an elaborate ploy to ‘train’ teachers but pay them less. Pay for an unqualified teacher starts at £15,827 (outside London) whilst a new, fully-fledged teacher earns a minimum of £21,588 (again, outside London) – that’s a pretty big difference, and trainees won’t know how long it will be until they get that pay rise and permission to teach.
With the huge difference in pay between an unqualified teacher and a qualified one, a headteacher with a tight budget may just decide to keep on trainees without giving them the all-important go ahead to teach. However, this could go the other way – a headteacher desperate for teachers could approve a trainee who isn’t ready. Either way, it is down to the headteacher and the headteacher alone. A headteacher with a grudge could prevent a trainee teacher from progressing, whereas a brown-nosing trainee could be quickly promoted. Why is it just down to the headteacher’s opinion? Why not, at the very least, make it a panel of experienced teachers to decide?
Surely there are bigger issues affecting education that need to be addressed, rather than making it harder to get in to teaching? Teachers are over-worked and stressed thanks to mountains of paper-work, lesson planning and marking. Students are suffering as a result of this. Classroom sizes are getting larger, there is more pressure for students to do well – so much so that more students are turning to hi-tech methods of cheating.
Teachers don’t have enough time to help and get to know their students. This will only get worse because not enough people are training to become teachers. Combine this with poor retention and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. The education system is in shambles and I fail to see the new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan doing anything to fix it. It really isn’t rocket science – encourage people to train to teach by making it easier to get in to, make working conditions better for teachers and put less emphasis on exams and essays. That’d be a good start – lucky for Ms.Morgan I don’t charge for advice when it is plain to see.