SIX MONTHS no way….my response to the six-month teacher training plan

SIX MONTHS no way….. I could never have taught PE in a London Comprehensive after 6 months training.

This will put undue pressure on prospective teachers and schools who will have to handhold these (I presume) graduates through the process and beyond extending the induction period to two or three years maybe…. !!!!!

Is this the end of formal vocational teacher training ??


86 thoughts on “SIX MONTHS no way….my response to the six-month teacher training plan

  1. I am an unqualified teacher with a degree in History. I have been in education for 10 years since egaining my degree as a mature student. I have been unable to access either a PGCE or GTP so I offered my services as a supply teacher to 3 agencies. I am entirely self taught with no formal training and have learnt “on the job” so to speak. I now get regular work in secondary and junior schools plus SEN schools. The schools ring up and ask for me as they know I do a good job despite the fact I am not qualified. I get the same pay rate as qualified teachers. I just wish I could get the final piece of the jigsaw by qualifying officially but it is not to be. It’s a pity you can’t “qualify” by time spent in the classroom/doing the job as I would have my QTS status by now!

  2. I agree with with the views of HLTA above. I am also in the same situation but I have a GCSE in maths (A grade) and a O level English grade D. I have more understanding of maths than the year six teacher I’m currently working with and she openly admits this. I am often asked to help student teachers with their research because I have covered most of what they need with my five years of study to cover my NVQ 4 and foundation degree. I work with children age 4 to 16yrs with behaviour problems and am very aware that teaching is not just about specific subjects. We should not automatically assume that children know how to behave properly, behaviour is also something that children need to learn. With the difficult backgrounds that many children bring with them to school it is vital that teachers receive as much training as is possible for their own sake as well as the children.

  3. Probably – but it wouldn’t make them a good teacher it would be a pulse in the classroom. Lets face it none of us got into teaching because of the government ads which are full of misrepresentations of teaching. You get what you pay for and invest in, you wouldn’t let someone with 6 months experience loose with your health so why a child’s future – its just the Governments way of belittling what we do again!

  4. Absolute rubbish! There is no way you can train ‘anyone’ successfully to quaified teacher status in just 6 months. If this were the case then why have I like so many others had to do it over a 3/4 years period!!!! For those who think it is 100% possible you need to ask yourself, would you visit the dentist or doctors knowing that they had only received 6 months training? NO I dont think so! So why demorilising the teaching profession in this way? As a mother of two, there is no way I would like my children to be taught by someone with such little expertise or experience, no matter how good they are!!

  5. As an experienced teacher with many years experience, I find it hard to swallow that it is thought 6 months is adequate training. I mentor final PGCE students who struggle to get to grips with whole class teaching and all the trappings that go with the job, e.g. assessment, behaviour, reports, SATs, SEN etc, etc. I feel a year isnt long enough let alone 6 months. Oh well role on my retirement!!!!

  6. I think the six months training to become a teacher, is an excellent idea. I will recommend this course to all “want to be” teachers.

    Short and sweet.

  7. Perhaps we could have a 6 month training programme for politicians can’t see what difference it would make!

  8. I can’t believe what i am reading, how can anyone train to be a teacher in six months, i did two years Nursery Nursing and Four years Teacher Training and still found it difficult to do everything required of me as a class teacher. I am still learning and have been teaching for nine years, anyone who thinks that you can train to be a teacher in six months has obviously never done the job and does not understand the pressures and responsibilities of the role.

  9. I’ve always been a little suspicious of teacher training anyway….how do you teach a person to be a teacher? i do believe the truly inspirational are born…having said that however there are tricks and strategies anyone can use to guide, lead, motivate and control another. teachers must be made aware of these…..6 months perhaps is enough time create awareness, time then is needed to create the expertise and ability to chose appropriate approaches for the many and varied situations they will find themselves in. Teaching is already undervalued…..why take that further by undermining society’s trust in the training?

  10. I’m a teacher who came to it as a second career. I’m good at it, very good in fact, but I spent 4 years at Uni doing BAEd and even after that I didn’t start teaching really well until 5 years in. It takes reflection, further learning and experience to gain skill. There are exceptional individuals who appear to be naturals – that’s because they are naturally good with children and are empathetic and good people managers. The vast majority of people have to learn these skills over time. Just because you have in-depth subject knowledge does not make you a good teacher. Look at the poor quality of Head Teachers coming through – usually young, inexperienced teachers who talk this government’s talk but are light on inspirational leadership. Afraid I feel very dispirited with education and feel that crazy schemes like this are just another example of Mr Balls and his group of pseudo-corporate spin doctors ruining education in this country.

  11. I had to do 3 years of teacher training (and afterwards, I studied towards my degrees) – from the first year, we’ve done practice teaching (in the actual classroom, alongside the experienced classroom teacher), and that prepared us extremely well for the real deal. In fact, there was a huge difference in us that came through teacher training first and those who’d done a degree and one year of teacher training. Six months, for the majority, no way.

  12. It is an insult to teachers to think that a job I trained for for FOUR years by doing a BSc (HONS)QTS degree can now be done in 6 months. What kind of a teacher can effectively cover all the bases that we are expected to do? As has already been states, it will be us already in the profession that have to spend time guiding and evalautaing and supporting these people and in all fairness I know that is our role when mentoring but this will be to amuch higher extent as the experience in the classroom will be a minimum. It’s disgrace.

  13. In the States, where I trained, a teacher is required to have a Master’s Degree in Education. I imagine I’m preaching to the converted on a forum like this one when I say that teaching is more a matter of finding a way to allow students to access the information, instead of knowing the information itself. It requires an infinite amount of empathy and awareness, something not particularly personified by the ‘banker’ community this ‘6 month training’ is aimed at.

    It’s insulting to suggest that the amount of different skills needed to make a good teacher can be accessed and employed in 6 months. But then, the key term here is ‘good’.

    I am proud of my vocation, and saddened that those in positions of authority cannot see how bad this suggestion is for morale, if not the greater state of education.

  14. I am undergoing my two years PGCE/QTS course and the pressure was so much that I don’t have a life because there is so much to learn and the time was so short. I think some people don’t appreciate the education system of this country but they want teaching job to be a dumping ground for those who are money lover, they completely forgotten that teaching require real love for children, enthusiasm individual, a role model, people with sense of humus, teaching is far from subject knowledge. If this people really want to be a teacher why now?
    Some countries have tried this but it lead to the destruction of their educational system. If people are out of job they should try politics or something else but not teaching.

  15. Absolute Rubbish! Currently, I am studying the second year of a BA(Hons.) in Education after completing a two year PGCE and i am still learning the ‘trade’, so to claim that an individual can train to be an effective teacher in six months is ridiculous.

  16. I barely managed to learn all I had to know in my year long PGCE. Idont see how you can teach a person the skills they need to teach in just six months.

  17. Everyone in or out of work should have access to ongoing training related both to their job and their interests as well as their weaknesses-if teachers can be trained in 6 months then so can doctors vets lawyers-just think of the time and energy saved -sadly the damage done would be extensive but why would this gov care it would all be some one elses fault !!!

  18. I am a NQT and have just endured 4 years of training! 6 months is absolutly ridiculous. Teaching is a stressful and exhausting job and after 6 months I don’t think anyone who had just come into it could hack the pressures of teaching. I love my job but would have felt completely unprepared after a meer 6 months.

  19. If this goes ahead I give any 6 month trainees less than a month before they run screaming for the hills. Then it will be left to the real teachers to mop up the mess thay have made, which for some children will be irrepairable.

  20. I believe this is watering down the teaching profession. Teaching achieved professional status when it began offering formal structured training to its applicants. Such training run for a course of three to four years to ensure persons covered an adequate curriculum that prepared them to shape the tender lives entrusted in their care.
    When the government turns to such recourse it tells us something: that they do not have the interest of the children parents or education at heart; the aim is to mass produce teachers to fill vacancies which will of course present a new set of challenges to schools for which another remedy will have to be developed.

    This is an absolute disregard for the profession and practitioners who have worked so hard in

  21. The idea that anyone can train to become a teacher in such a short period is ridiculous! It will not work & most certainly will not produce confident & competent teachers. Why rush the training for such a demanding career?

  22. The best teachers are those who have been out there and worked in industry!!They know what the real world is like. Using their experience and bringing it into the classroom is the best idea, if they are already an expert in their field it won’t take long to learn how to teach this. Their first three years on EPD may be dificult but with PRSD they will become excellent teachers. I’ve seen this so many times!! The worst teachers I know are those who never left school, they went straight from their A-levels to teacher training college, they have a cushy life, don’t push themselves to learn more about their subject area and worst of all they are clicky, they don’t accept newcomers into their little groups, they bitch about other teachers, they think they know it all, and noone should dare question them! They still act like they did in the playground at school.
    I opened my own business at 18, I fast tracked my honours degree in Computer Science in 2 years and completed a one year PGCE to become a teacher at 21. I also worked in industry for my three summers and completed a masters during my first year teaching. I know the real world and I have become one of the best teachers in my tough inner city school. My students leave school as better people, I am a good role model for them as well as a good listener and my results have gone from strength to strength. In a school where less than 18% of kids get 5 GCSEs, Over 85% of students in my subject area are getting grades A-C!!! The results have steadily been improving each year.

    If people are well qualified in their subject area then 6 months should be enough time to qualify as a teacher as long as there are good structures in place for continued professional development.

  23. It’s not just about your subject knowledge, thats a load of crap! In 6 months how can you learn behaviour strategies, how to teach SEN and EAL children or how to assess the children(plus many other things on the list)? Those people that think all they need is to know their subject have no idea what is involved in teaching children. For that matter, does the government even understand all of what is involved in teaching a class of 30 children? obviously not, otherwise they would not be suggesting such a short training period!

  24. The biggest load of tosh I have heard in a long time. I find it laughable that some of the above ‘anonymous’ commentators think their children would be better off with an accountant or engineer in front of the class. I have a Bsc(Hons) and without meaning to blow my own trumpet, from one of the top unis in UK, as well as a CV full of outstanding academic grades. However, when I undertook my PGCE in 2005/06 (as I had always wanted to teach since being a little ‘un) it was, as someone else above explained, the hardest thing I had ever taken on in my life. I said then, and I maintain now, that a one year PGCE or teacher training course of any kind, in my opinion simply should not be available. It really does not prepare you for anything like the real job that is teaching. In one year they can teach you a little about child dev, and lots about the current curriculum requirements/documents, but how good is that when they get outdated and replaced, or when you move into a different education system? No, a one year course or 6 MONTHS (!!) cannot possibly prepare you to be an effective teacher, not probably even a half decent one. And let’s face it, does our nation want a load of ‘half decent’ teachers? Our children deserve more. Oh well, fellow teachers and trainees, at least we can be safe in the knowledge that these people won’t last long in teaching anyway, because they won’t be prepared to put in 60 hours a week for GBP20k when they start their ‘career’. (Or perhaps our wise old government will decide to give them a recruitment bonus of 30 grand just for lowering themselves to the point of being a teacher)! I can’t express my frustration and anger at this ridiculous proposition – let’s put the Ed Minister and Mr Brown in a classroom for 6 months and see how well they do!

  25. Rose,
    Good for you – you should be very proud of yourself…!

    Seriously it sounds as though you are a very talented teacher and good on ya’. However, there are other teachers out there who may not have the inherent wells of awesomeness that you have in being a teacher, but who do a damn fine job and also help their students to achieve really well, through their intelligence, knowledge, application of themselves and/or hard work. Just because you took this route, does not mean every tom dick and harry off the street could be so successful, so I think your conclusion is a dangerous one. I think my main point of difference to your post above is that I think your argument may be more feasible for secondary teaching, but for primary…definitely not. I worked in industry too, like you, but I teach Primary. I have huge respect for anyone who even attempts secondary, let alone for those who do well. But I think it really takes a certain type of person to be a good (or better thank good) primary teacher. No amount of letters after the name and years of dealing with people in suits and paperwork will equip a lawyer, accountant, sales manager or electricain to be a good primary teacher because of their subject knowledge – that will be largely redundant the minute they step in front of a year 2 class! I, as a PGCE trained teacher, understand to a degree your thoughts on BEds who go straight from school – but what a generalisation you have made! These teachers have had so much more input on child development, pedagogy, and more time in classrooms, as well as 4x more time to question/understand/develop/reflect than us PGCE’ers that I think you are doing them a grave disservice to say that they have not pushed themselves nor worked hard. In the schools I have worked in, I would say all but one teacher I have come across has worked ridiculously hard to do their best. This regardless of whether they were a 22 year old NQT from a BEd, a 30-something from industry who trained on a PGCE or a 50 something who trained in the 70’s. Just a few thought there…

  26. I think that you need commitment as a teacher – how can you show this in just 6 months? i agree with many others – we need better quality teacher training, not less of it!

  27. This is stupid I did my training last year and can now see I was not fully prepared after a years training. Its like driving you don’t really learn until you pass your test. The 6 months training idea will attract people who are just doing it because they have no job and therefore we will end up with teachers that are not passionate about their subject and as always it will be the students that will suffer!

  28. Just another example of government interference in education.They have let the banks do as they like over the last decade with a minimum of regulation.And now they smooth the way into teaching for these people.
    One thing is for sure these money men/women will find out what hard work really is.
    The whole proposal is a slap in the face for serving teachers.That we should come to this, a government that offers no leadership on any issue. They are a disgrace and would certainly fail an OFSTED inspection.

  29. The answer is in the quality not the quantity and my experience is that the quality of teacher training has slipped miserably in the past decade. Let’s fix that first….training for organizational skills, training for classroom discipline, training for multi-modality teaching all but seem to have disappeared in our new recruits. Teachers, like leaders are ‘naturals’ and we are not screeening anywhere near enough prior to enterning Teachers College for the qualities it takes to make a good teacher. Lets fix it before we shorten it.

  30. I do not agree with this idea. Four years of training of sheer hard work and determination has helped to set me up to become a teacher. Not sure how this can be achieved in 6 months? It seems such an unfair system for those who have had to endure hard study to obtain their QTS. Lynn Shaw March 2009

  31. In all honesty, yes, I think in certain circumstances if a person has the right attributes, it is possible to be up and running as a teacher within 6 months: I was. Of course one still has much to learn, but with the right support from a mentor and HoD, I think it could be done. As a blanket policy however, certainly not.

  32. I think that six months is a rediculous idea that has not been thought through properly. Cynically, one has to wonder if it is simply a way for the government to get people back into work during the credit crunch? I found the PGCE year incredible hard and remember saying on more than one accassion the content would have easily filled two years. As it was, one year was ok, but very pressured. Six months however, would just be absurd!

  33. To be a teacher you need to have a mental make up ,love for children, flair for teaching, value for education, have a will to serve society&last but not least have lots of patience these are a must in an individual.You can be better organised or improve your skills through training I feel in short .A very good student may not be a very good teacher.

  34. Perhaps the government thinks that by re-employing (now-unemployed) city workers as teachers with a six-month training behind them they will be better at cracking the immense load of paperwork that teachers have to deal with?

    I agree that it is extremely dubious that one will have a properly trained teacher after only six-months of training. It is hard enough to be a good teacher after a one-year PGCE or a foreign teacher’s qualification. I did a South African teacher’s qualification and that included a lot of theorising, philosophy of education, PIAGET (now discredited perhaps because of a lack of rigorous honesty by using relatives as guinea pigs)VIGOTSKY, psychology but no real child-development along biological/neurological lines. I did six months’ classroom-based educational theories and only 3 months’training and when I took a post again in the UK in a rural average 1000 -pupil sized comprehensive school I found it extremely demanding. The South African training had only trained me for extremely polite, privately-educated tolerant individuals; not for impolite, under-equipped, over-pupilled, unmusical, intolerant hormonal British classrooms.
    I speak therefore from experience- I agree with the comments above that a three -year course is perhaps the best way to train and then retain a good teacher.

  35. Hi. I am a teacher myself who earn 4 year degree in teaching in Phil.I think my view in offering 6months training is absolutely waste of space because to be a teacher need a rigid long training but not a crash course to be a teacher.

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