The teacher unions and their flunkies in the Labour party hate charter schools. One of their arguments is that there isn’t a requirement for trained teachers to be in charge of classrooms. They are taking their lead from the same battle that is happening in the UK.
Labour in the UK are running the exact same lines, lines that are without merit.
What makes a great school? Itâ€™s a question that obsesses parents, professionals and politicians alike, and there are all manner of theories bandied about. But, really, itâ€™s rather simple: you must put your students first. And in order to do that, you must hire only the very best people to teach them.
At our Academy school, we donâ€™t mind whether or not our staff is QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) trained â€“ a basic freedom that private schools have long enjoyed. We have trained dozens of high-quality, enthusiastic men and women over the past few years and retained the best ones, qualified or not.
During this time our school, despite being based in the disadvantaged seaside town of Weston-super-Mare, has become one of the best in the UK. Our GCSE results have eclipsed those of schools in more leafy suburbs and placed us in the top few per cent nationally.
So it came as quite a shock to learn this week that if Labour wins the next election, some of our staff will be among the 5,000 untrained teachers to be told they must gain a formal qualification or face the sack. Â
Same threats same MO…does the Labour party share all this info, or are they just bullying, ignorant thugs the world over?
This would be a disaster, for schools, students and for my â€śunqualifiedâ€ť teachers; it is a nonsense that you need QTS to teach. Union leaders may not like it, but schools such as ours have developed a successful model of getting the best staff because we are able quite simply to recruit people who are keen, ambitious and hungry for success. It works: our school has become a conveyor belt of the very best teaching talent.
Take one of our brilliant maths teachers, Melissa Harding. Mel started with us in 2008 as cover and she immediately shone with her refreshing motivational style and enthusiasm. It was clear we had an outstanding talent on our hands, so we made her a maths â€śteacherâ€ť.
Her students performed above expectations, which is surely a good indicator of success, and then, after only two years with us, she was graded highly during an Ofsted inspection. In fact, she received a higher grade than some qualified maths specialists. No one â€“ parents, teachers, staff â€“ could have guessed that Mel was non-QTS.
Of course we were monitoring her closely, as we do with all our staff, but the bottom line, surely, is results, and Melâ€™s results are superb. Our entrepreneurial vice-principal/head of the upper school, Jane McBride, still does not have QTS, but her teaching of business studies is outstanding.
A business graduate and former leader of an Asda sales team, her enthusiasm and motivation are the key reason why our school-leavers take away first-class results.
What good would it do to sack staff such as Mel and Jane?
They would be sacked because they aren’t meeting the criteria set by unions and the Labour party…so out they go.
The trouble is, the unions and certain other parties seem to think that QTS is a guarantee of success when it obviously isnâ€™t. All head teachers and principals have seen their fair share of poor â€śqualifiedâ€ť teachers who drift into the profession and are almost impossible to shift out. If we can find excellent QTS staff, thatâ€™s all good, but in the current market we need to have the flexibility and creativity which thankfully Michael Gove has introduced.
Why should a great local chef not teach cookery? Why should a great local hockey coach not teach PE? How many graduates drift into teaching without a real passion for the job? Conversely, how many people have been put off teaching by the rigid system of QTS?
Academy freedoms have been long-awaited and we are using them to the full for the benefit of students. No creative and forward-looking school wants to be shackled by bureaucracy and rules. We have abolished â€śsupply teachersâ€ť and instead use highly enthusiastic and motivated cover staff. Ironically, many of these after a year or two are now progressing on to QTS courses: this system itself is creating better QTS-trained staff.
To help improve education for thousands of children, I would urge heads and principals to use their new-found freedoms to develop the best teaching talent, and Stephen Twigg to ditch this regressive part of his plan.
And Mr Gove could do us all a favour by making it even easier to dismiss the few unsuccessful and unmotivated teachers and give their jobs to the unqualified talent that is eager to teach. This could be his greatest legacy.
Teacher unions aren;t part of the solution, they are part of the problem. They encourage and reward mediocrity, they obstruct, and they lie. Unions, especially in education are nothing short of a protection racket.