Thursday, October 24, 2013

Independent School of the Year has 39 unqualified teachers

One assumption behind Nick Clegg's speech on education today - and behind Liberal Democrat policy - is that qualified teachers are better than unqualified ones. But is this true?

From BBC News:
On the issue of teacher qualifications, the head teacher of independent school Brighton College, Richard Cairns, said he believed that "teachers are born not made". 
"At Brighton College, this year's Sunday Times Independent School of the Year, we have 39 teachers without formal teaching qualifications, including me." 
He continued: "Once teachers are in the school, they have a reduced teaching timetable to allow them to spend time observing other good teachers and are actively mentored. By the end of the year, they are, in our view, better trained than any PGCE student."
My instinct is to say that if unqualified teachers are good enough for top private schools they are good enough for state schools too.


Anonymous said...

I think it is rather simplistic to compare Brighton College, which has been in existence since 1845 ( and might have been able to evolve over time a good system for mentoring unqualified teachers, with the current issue over recently created free schools.

Squirrel Nutkin said...

"My instinct is to say that if unqualified teachers are good enough for top private schools they are good enough for state schools too."

Russell Brand couldn't have put it better... but I can imagine him saying exactly the same.

Anonymous said...

Ah the wonderful world of private, sorry Independent education. I was going to ask some naïve questions about B.C. like how many free school meal pupils or ones with emotional & behavioural difficulties or learning difficulties(other than dyslexia, but of course we are not talking real world education here. Mind you I looked up its fees and they are a bargain in comparison to Eton. It took a few pages of google to get past the "puff"& praise and wikapaedia suggested whoever was writing their page might sharpen it up a bit.
Well I can just about live with private education but what I cannot abide is when it is suggested, especially by those in it, that their example holds the solution to whatever supposed problems exist in state schools. I speak as a pupil, ex teacher, parent & governor with all my experience in the state sector. How well I remember the day when the six children of a dead junkie, who were then been looked after by their depressed, alcoholic father, arrived at our school. To say they were a bit of a handful doesn't do justice to the chaos they brought in their wake. However I'm sure if they had gone to B.C. they would by now all have obtained double firsts at Oxbridge.
I'm sure for the readers of the Sunday Times who can afford it
Richard Cairns and his unqualified staff do a fabulous job but lets get real he has nothing to offer the children of the poor and he is not going to try. systonhouse unqualified teacher has gone to bed after an evening in the pub so I still haven't been taught these necessary IT skills

Rob Parsons said...

I wonder what the comparison would look like if schools with fully qualified teachers had the budgets to allow for this kind of in service training and mentoring. If you really want to compare independent and state schools, you have to get an awful lot of other variables out of the way first (including the poverty issues mentioned above).

Niles said...

Well, I wouldn't want to be teaching without having undergone the training course I did. PGCE leading to QTS meant I went into teaching with my eyes open, with a good wodge of experience behind me, and with a support network of mentors and peers to talk to when life gets difficult as it always will. Teaching is like living the last week of an election campaign for 30 weeks of the year.