Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Teaching would get boost if sixth-formers could try it?


Secondary classroom
The government needs to increase the number of more effective teachers, say MPs
Sixth-formers should be given a chance to try out teaching, to encourage the brightest into the profession after they finish university, say MPs.
More should be done to attract, train and retain top teachers, the Commons Education Select Committee says.
It says offering a taste of life at the other end of the classroom could help teenagers see the benefits of the job.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the government valued teachers highly, but many top graduates chose other careers.
The report, entitled Great Teachers, draws on international evidence which shows how the best teaching can accelerate learning, boost grades and even improve pupils' future earnings.
'Fantastic and Inspiring'
Committee chairman Graham Stuart said: "There is a huge difference in how much children learn depending on who is taking their class.
"It is crucial that we have an educational system which celebrates great teachers, keeps more of them in the classroom, supports their development and gives them greater status and reward."
The report calls on the government to champion the "fantastic and inspiring work" done by existing teachers - but also to do more to recruit the best graduates into the profession.
The MPs' recommendations include allowing young people to try out teaching at an early age, something they say that would give students a better idea of the benefits and drawbacks of teaching as a career, improve the quality of applicants and lead to a lower drop-out rate.
The MPs also say applicants for teacher-training should be observed taking a class before being offered a place.
The MPs welcomed ministers' plans for tougher literacy and numeracy tests for trainee teachers but said this should not be at the expense of good personal skills.

Teacher Training

  • Salaries for newly qualified teachers start between £21,000 and £27,000
  • Every 7.5 minutes someone applies for postgraduate teacher training
  • Anyone wanting to teach in England and Wales must complete initial teacher training (ITT)
  • There are many different types of ITT courses, specific to age groups
  • Prospective secondary level teachers choose a specific subject for their ITT
  • 30% more people are training to teach physics than in 2010
Source: Department for Education
The committee also raised concerns about the government's plan to use a would-be teacher's degree class to determine whether they should receive a bursary to train.
"Whilst bursaries will help attract people with strong academic records, greater effort is also needed to identify which subset of these also possess the additional personal qualities that will make them well suited to teaching," the report says.
The committee recommends the recruitment programme followed by the successful Teach First scheme, which recruits high-flying graduates to the profession.
Teach First insists on top degrees for its recruits, but candidates also undergo a day-long programme of aptitude tests, including role play, teamwork and a teaching practice session.
The committee says it is vital that universities continue to play a major role in training teachers.
"The evidence has left us in little doubt that partnership between schools and universities is likely to provide the highest quality initial teacher education."
'Outstanding training'
The report also recommends better continuing professional development for teachers and a college of teaching along the lines of a professional institute.
Mr Gibb said the government would consider the recommendations in full.
"As all the evidence from around the world shows, nothing is more important for raising standards in our schools than ensuring that we have more great teachers.
"This report supports the government's strategy for teacher recruitment as being appropriately focused on attracting top graduates into the profession and giving them outstanding training."
The teaching unions broadly welcomed the recommendations, particularly those on better continuing professional development.
But Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Teaching is becoming increasingly less attractive as a profession for graduates to choose to enter and for those already in it.
"Unless the government addresses the issue of pay and pensions as well as a punishingly high workload and accountability system, no amount of 'marketing' will convince graduates that teaching is an attractive career."
Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "The aspiration to have one of the best education services in the world will only be achieved by raising the status of teachers to a level which attracts the very best people, and this will only be done by celebrating the successes of our education service and the quality of those who work in it."

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