Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Teacher Training in Six Months Is 'Just a Gimmick'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Teacher Training in Six Months Is 'Just a Gimmick'

Article excerpt

Byline: NICHOLAS CECIL Chief Political Correspondent

MINISTERS faced a backlash today over their plans to allow City workers made redundant to become teachers within six months.

Teaching unions dismissed the scheme, part of a string of public sector reforms unveiled by Gordon Brown today, as a "gimmick" and "demeaning" to existing teachers.

Ministers are proposing to halve the one-year qualifying time for outstanding candidates to train as a teacher. "It used to be that the City attracted the very best, now let's get them into teaching," schools minister Jim Knight told GMTV this morning.

Exceptional teachers could also become heads within four years. The Government aims to train 200 headteachers by 2014 under the fast-track scheme.

Headteachers said current specialist programmes to attract high-flyers into classrooms were costly and had a higher rate of people later dropping out of teaching in State schools.

But Mr Knight stressed: "We want people who genuinely want to come into a classroom -- not just because they don't know what else to do." The Prime Minister's other reforms today include allowing patients to post online reviews of their GPs and other local health services.

Department of Health officials are likening the model to the Tripadvisor website where travellers can share their thoughts, often scathing, about hotels.

Many doctors are already opposing plans to allow patients to put feedback about services they get at NHS hospitals on a website.

Childcare providers are to undergo similar scrutiny via a website expected to be up and running early next year, and websites with nation-wide "mapping" will let people compare police forces and councils. Parents will also be able to have their say on new school report cards.

Mr Brown said today that the Government had been slow to use the "enormous democratising power of information". He said: "We are ushering in a new world of accountability in which parents, patients and local communities shape services. …

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