'Championing the rights of children'

'Teacher quality' Hunt's priority

Garry Wed 15 Jan 2014 20:50

Raising the quality of teaching, rather than creating new types of school structure, is the way to raise standards, says Labour’s Tristram Hunt.

The shadow education secretary said, to catch up with international rivals, teachers needed continuous training.

Last week, Mr Hunt announced plans for teachers to be regularly "re-licensed" under a future Labour government.

Mr Hunt said he wanted "world class" teachers to be the "architects of growth".

But Labour's education spokesman said that he backed the government’s plan to change secondary school GCSE league tables, which will show pupils' best eight subjects.

Qualified teachers
Speaking at the North of England Education Conference, Mr Hunt set out the direction of travel for Labours plans for education.

He emphasised the central importance of the standard of teaching – quoting the argument of the OECD's education guru Andreas Schleicher's that "no education system can exceed the quality of its teachers".

With echoes of Tony Blair's "standards not structures" dictum, Mr Hunt said that the standard of teaching in the classroom was a greater priority than a "relentless focus on structural change".

He repeated his party's argument that all teachers in state schools should be qualified or in the process of becoming qualified teachers – but said that this should be the "minimum we expect".

Mr Hunt said that in the run-up to writing Labour's general election manifesto, he would consult with the teaching profession on the type of training needed to keep skills up to date.

He said this was not "bashing teachers" but "elevating" them.

Read more... (BBC News - 15 January)