Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Qualifying as a Teacher Doesn't Get Tougher Than This

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Qualifying as a Teacher Doesn't Get Tougher Than This

Article excerpt

Plan would require two years in the classroom before QTS

New teachers in England may have to work in the classroom for at least two years before they achieve qualified teacher status (QTS), under radical government plans to toughen up entry to the profession, TES can reveal.

The Department for Education (DfE) proposals would raise the level of QTS from a basic entry qualification to a much more demanding certificate of competency.

Ministers have been working with officials on the plan since before Christmas, according to a key adviser to former education secretary Michael Gove. The matter is still being considered under Mr Gove's successor, Nicky Morgan, TES understands.

The plans to overhaul QTS were revealed by Dominic Cummings, Mr Gove's former special adviser. In a blog post, he writes: "Before I left [the DfE at the end of 2013], there were discussions about creating a new version of QTS that would...come after a more substantial period of training than a year (which I think most people now support)."

Mr Cummings claims that Mr Gove, who left the department in July, had planned to announce the proposals in the summer, adding: "There is a plan 95 per cent ready to go sitting on DfE computers."

At present, teachers gain QTS as soon as they finish their initial training. They must then pass a newly qualified teacher (NQT) year if they want to work in the state sector.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, said plans to make QTS more rigorous were worth considering as a way of keeping teachers in the profession.

"The retention rate in teaching is still not good enough and part of that could well be that newly qualified teachers are not getting the support and development they need," she said. "At the moment, QTS doesn't guarantee that you are going to be competent in the profession for the long term."

Simon Barber, principal of Carshalton Boys Sports College in Surrey, was concerned that the changes could be a "hurdle too far" for new recruits. "I would also want to know about the implications for new teachers' salaries: could that act as another hindrance to recruitment?" he added.

Dan Morrow, associate principal at Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey in Kent, said: "I am very positive about the principles of this because schools have a vested interest to train staff and make the very best of them. The trouble with QTS is sometimes it has become a certification that a course has been completed, rather than a professional standard. …

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