Fiona Millar: Don’t denigrate teachers, we need more of them

Writing in the Guardian, Fiona Millar says the education secretary’s own image will plummet if she and her colleagues cannot make sure we have enough school teachers…

..The suggestions made by Morgan last week that public confidence in teachers is as low as it is in politicians was unfortunate and factually incorrect. Most opinion polls suggest teachers are among the most trusted professional groups and that is a point worth re-inforcing at every opportunity…

The post-2008 recession made teaching an attractive postgraduate option at a time when secondary school rolls were declining. But that may no longer be the case as the economy picks up and the first tranche of graduates bearing the weight of full tuition fees emerge into the workforce.

Meanwhile, the government’s “diversification” of routes into teacher training is in full swing. School-based schemes such as Teach First and School Direct are flavour of the month and university-based courses are unloved and out in the cold, even though the latter are generally rated more highly as training by Ofsted.

But changes introduced in the 2011 Education Act mean that, for the first time in more than half a century, no one seems to have overall responsibility for ensuring this mix will guarantee enough teachers in the required subjects in the right places to meet local demand…

But seasoned data-watchers in this area are pessimistic. Professor John Howson of Oxford University has been tracking the education labour force for 25 years. His analysis of the latest figures from Ucas, which now co-ordinates applicants for all teacher training routes, suggests a worsening situation…

All this is a worry because the final contributing factor in the perfect storm is the predicted expansion in the school roll over the next 10 years. This has proved contentious enough in terms of ensuring there are the right number of school places. But what if there aren’t enough teachers for those extra pupils?

…On the scale of parental educational angst, not having a school place for your child comes top, but not having a good teacher, or a teacher at all, for your child’s class is a close second…

More at: Don’t denigrate teachers, we need more of them

 

Should Nicky Morgan, as education secretary, be making it a core part of her role to promote teaching as a profession and the image of teachers? How would you most like her to do this? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove schooltruth Whoever is in charge at the time of the “perfect storm” will blame the other side as students and staff suffer

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