Education Mar 5 2010

Teacher training matters more than qualifications

Should we only train teachers who have 2:1 degrees or above? That is the proposal from the Conservative Party. Leader David Cameron says he wants the profession to be brazenly elitist, although he isn’t promising any more money to ensure that teachers are paid as much as other elite professionals like barristers, judges or city bankers.

Swift embarrassment followed when it emerged that the party’s Maths tsar, Carol Voderman, only had a third class degree and on balance the subsequent debate veered towards giving Cameron’s policy the thumbs down because vocation mattered as well as qualifications. See the best of the commentary here, starting with Francis Gilbert and Michael Morpurgo and a range of personal anecdotes from politician Paddy Ashdown to authors Bonnie Greer and Deborah Moggach.

Great teachers need skills, qualifications and vocation but they also need to be well trained, offered continuous professional development and the chance to take higher level qualifications like Masters degrees. Someone has to fund that though. Would it be better if we focussed on investment in the teaching profession, and smaller class sizes for children, rather than headline grabbing gimmicks that risk alienating people who might make brilliant teachers because they didn’t go to the right university or missed a top class degree by a couple of marks.

One Response to “Teacher training matters more than qualifications”

  1. PaulEast says:

    Teaching is a very big profession employing, I seem to remember, some 400,000 people. Has anyone clever at Maths in the Tory Party checked to see if there are likely to be enough 2:1s to go round? The rest of teh public sector is apparently too big and is often accused of “crowding out” the private sector; won’t the same apply with teachers? Gosh, no one to run the banks because they are all working down the local comprehensive. Well, we can hope, I suppose…

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