'Championing the rights of children'

Teachers' unions demand qualified status for staff

Garry Sun 20 Apr 2014 08:15

Teachers' unions are demanding that schools in England should only employ fully-qualified teachers.

The National Union of Teachers' conference has voted against schools using teachers who do not have formal teaching qualifications.

The NASUWT conference has also warned that allowing unqualified teachers is an "attack on professional status".

But a Department for Education spokeswoman said: "It is entirely up to head teachers who they employ."

A survey among NASUWT members earlier found that 53% had worked alongside unqualified teachers.

Speaking at the NUT conference in Brighton, Agnes Bishop, a teacher from Essex, said: "We condemn those responsible for attempting to de-professionalise teaching."

Defining 'teacher'
The conference voted to call on whichever party forms the next government to bring forward legislation to ensure that every child is taught by a qualified teacher.

The union also wants a regulatory definition of who can be described as a teacher.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower gave her own definition of a teacher: "A teacher is someone who has patience, enthusiasm, subject knowledge and pedagogy. A teacher has a degree and a teaching qualification. "

The government said state schools should have the same flexibility as independent schools to bring "great linguists, computer scientists, engineers and other specialists into the classroom".

But the teachers' unions have attacked this as a "cheap alternative" that threatens standards.

The NASUWT conference has heard claims that using unqualified staff is a cost-cutting measure.

Read more... (BBC News - 20 April 2014)