Fears over use of unqualified ‘teachers’

Simon Jones, on the executive of the National Union of Teachers
Simon Jones, on the executive of the National Union of Teachers
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Teachers are petitioning against forced academy status following a rally in London last night.

The event was organised by the National Union of Teachers and Association of Teachers and Lecturers

The protest came as Lancashire’s school leaders fear widespread introduction of unqualified teachers if the Government presses ahead with it’s education White Paper.

Teacher unions across the county, along with sections of commerce and industry have expressed concerns over plans to force all schools to become academies.

However, Simon Jones, Lancashire executive member for the National Union of Teachers said: “ Getting rid of Qualified Teacher Status is a clear indication of how little this Government respects teachers or parents, who believe their children should be taught by a qualified teacher.

“Leaving schools and heads to decide whether a teacher has reached suitable standards lacks coherence.”

He added: “The shift towards school-based teacher education has contributed to current shortages, yet it is a policy that the White Paper wants to take even further.

Finland, for example, which tops international education league tables, educates teachers to master level.

“This policy is going in the wrong direction and should be of concern to everyone.”

The county’s schools say they have made a “positive choice” to stay under the control of Lancashire County Council.

Leyland Moss Side Primary School headteacher Janis Burdin said the majority of the county’s schools had ignored “incentives and carrots” to become academies.

She added: “Every school and governors want what is best for the children and if they felt that was academy status they have gone for it.

“In Lancashire we are very lucky to have a strong and supportive local authority and the support that they give is what we are worried about losing.

“As a head teacher I feel we would be vulnerable and isolated if we were an academy.

“If I have a problem I can contact the advisory department and know I will get an advisors or someone who knows the area and situation to visit.

I can’t see someone based in London being able to do that.

I can honestly say I have never been stopped from doing anything by the local authority so we are certainly not constrained.”