Politicians can’t seem to stop themselves from meddling with the education system. Instead of good news for the profession like a budget increase or easing the workload, the latest suggestion from the Labour party is to weed out unqualified teachers.
Any state school teacher that refuses to at least begin working towards QTS status will be excluded from the classroom in an attempt to promote “ high quality teaching”. This proposal could lead to the sacking of almost 17,000 teachers who do not have QTS, at a time when schools are already experiencing a teacher shortage and recruitment crisis.
Teachers will have until the end of the next parliament to start or successfully complete their QTS course, which takes in total a year to complete. Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristam Hunt believes that the teachers that remain unqualified haven’t “shown the enthusiasm and the respect to your pupils… and you don’t deserve to be in the classroom”.
This view is also shared by the Lib Dems and the Greens who agree that teachers need QTS before entering a classroom. It is a shared belief that a QTS represents part of the fabric that makes teaching a profession. It installs the philosophy that there are professional standards that need to be met when looking to become a teacher. Tristan Hunt said he was implementing this policy as “a sign of respect” to qualified teachers. But have Labour really thought through the full consequences of this policy at a time when numbers in the profession are at their lowest?
The Conservatives, however, believes that it is essential to give schools the freedom to recruit whoever they deem worthy, whether or not they have a formal teaching qualification. Nick Boles, the Minister of State, has pointed out that this proposal could “mean that 17,000 teachers are lost, even if they are delivering outstanding results” and that “there are some brilliant teachers who do not have qualified teaching status. Under the Conservatives, their jobs would be safe”.
However, this Labour policy would not impact the entire education system, it would only apply to those teachers in the state sector predominately in Academies. Independent schools will still be able to employ teachers without QTS. So is having QTS really a prerequisite to being an excellent teacher?
The QTS is designed to help teachers control a classroom, acquire further skills and enable them to improve their ability to teach in a variety of situations. Do you think having QTS is necessary? Should schools be restricted by only employing candidates based on their QTS?
If you have QTS status, do you think you are a better teacher because of it? Have your say…