Unqualified tutors teaching children

ALMOST 500 unqualified teachers are teaching pupils in Suffolk schools, it has emerged.

ALMOST 500 unqualified teachers are teaching pupils in Suffolk schools, it has emerged.

Union chiefs warned many of the lower-paid “instructors” were being exploited by education bosses and children's education could suffer unless the issue was dealt with.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show Suffolk County Council employs 427 people in the role of instructors across schools in the county - defined as people without Qualified Teacher Status who the law allows to carry out the role of a teacher on a temporary basis.

A teacher, who did not want to give her name, said she left university to become an instructor in a Suffolk school last academic year and said she:

was rejected for a teacher training course but was able to teach GCSE pupils as an instructor without any supervision;

wasn't informed that she would be teaching two extra subjects in addition to her specialist degree subject and would have to take on parents evenings, reports and cover for absent teachers;

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had to devise her own lesson plans on days there was no-one available to help;

would not have survived a month in the role without the help she received from non-management staff;

Martin Goold, secretary of the Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said they had heard many similar horror stories but was “surprised” at the number of instructors currently teaching in Suffolk.

“These standards are very bad, which is why the NUT will not accept that it is reasonable and fair on our children to allow such things to happen,” he said. “Nobody should be allowed to teach in classrooms without appropriate training and qualifications.

“Our policy is that every class and every lesson should be taught by a qualified teacher assisted by a properly trained and qualified teaching assistant.”

Of the extra responsibilities that are given to the instructors once they enter the schools, he said: “They are being exploited. Once they are there you can ask them to do other duties a teacher needs to do and that is clearly not fair.”

The female instructor said: “Children's education is definitely suffering because an instructor has to learn how to teach on the job. Unless they are taken away for a few weeks on a course kids will get a second rate education.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said: “All school staff employed to have regular responsibility for a class in a school will need to satisfy the headteacher that they can provide a suitably stimulating and rigorous experience for their pupils.

“Those staff without graduate teacher status are appropriately supervised and supported with planning and preparation. All schools are inspected by Ofsted.”