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Local delegates voice concern about the numbers of unqualified teachers

17:04 20 April 2014

Graham White, Suffolk NUT

Graham White, Suffolk NUT

Archant

Fears about unqualified teachers working in state schools have dominated discussions at union conferences over the Easter weekend – and prompted representatives of teachers in this region to highlight the concerns.

Polls commissioned by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and NASUWT showed widespread opposition to the use of unqualified teachers.

A poll of NASUWT members found that just over half of those questioned (53%) reported that there were unqualified staff working as teachers in their school.

Around 81% said that the unqualified staff working as teachers were planning and preparing lessons, with 90% saying that these individuals regularly teach lessons and 61% saying that they were preparing pupils for tests and exams. A separate survey commissioned by the NUT found that 82% of parents believe publicly-funded schools should only employ qualified teachers, with 80% saying that they would not want their child to attend a school that did not require its teachers to have professional teaching qualifications.

Suffolk NUT secretary Graham White said: “Parents are also concerned about their children being taught by unqualified staff. We are pleased that the second largest teachers union (NASUWT) now appears be agreeing with the NUT stance of being against unqualified teachers being used to teach our children.

“Our children deserve the best teachers, we need to stand up for education and to have policies which ensure all our children are taught by a qualified teacher in a well-resourced school which promotes a broad and balanced curriculum.”

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Parents no longer have the certainty of knowing that when they send their children to school they will be taught by a qualified teacher.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “It is entirely right that state schools should enjoy the same advantage that private schools have to bring great linguists, computer scientists, engineers and other specialists into the classroom. It is entirely up to headteachers who they employ and we trust their judgment in getting the mix right for the pupils they know best.”

She added: “In fact, the latest teacher workforce census show there are 700 fewer non-QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) teachers in schools than there were in 2010, while the percentage of non-QTS teachers in academies is down from 9.4% in 2010 to 5.3%.

“Overall the quality of the teaching workforce is rising. A record 96% of all teachers now have degrees or above, meaning there are an extra 43,000 teachers with degree level qualifications in classrooms since 2010.”

Official figures published last week revealed that around 17,000 “unqualified” teachers are working in England’s state schools. This figure includes trainee teachers.

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