Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Desperate Heads Hire Teachers Not Up to the Job

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Desperate Heads Hire Teachers Not Up to the Job

Article excerpt


HUNDREDS of teachers starting new jobs in London and the South-East next week are of such poor quality that their schools would rather not have appointed them, according to a survey.

They were given jobs by heads desperate to make appointments of some kind, so as to avoid having to send children home. The survey casts new light on Government assurances that most teaching posts will be filled by the time the new term begins.

The real scandal, it suggests, is the desperate measures schools are taking to put staff in front of classes, appointing teachers who may not have the experience or subject knowledge to do their jobs.

Today's survey was carried out by the Secondary Heads Association and the Times Educational Supplement. Based on returns from more than 800 secondary schools in England, it suggests that there are likely to be 5,000 unfilled vacancies in schools when the new term resumes next week.

Across the country, heads said they viewed one in five appointments made for the start of the new term as "unsatisfactory" - suggesting there could be 6,000 such teachers starting work in schools across the country next week. In London and the South-East, heads responding to the survey said they expected to have 490 unfilled vacancies at the start of the new term and that more than 550 of the appointments they made were "unsatisfactory".

An Evening Standard survey last month suggested education authorities in London ended the last term needing to find at least 800 teachers for September.

The national survey's findings follow evidence of falling quality in teaching staff as schools scrape the barrel to fill vacancies. Earlier this month, a senior academic at the Open University spoke of evidence that nearly one in five maths teachers in the early years of secondary school do not have a maths degree.

Chief schools inspector Mike Tomlinson said this week he believed the teacher recruitment crisis now facing schools was the worst in nearly 40 years. …

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