Unqualified Teachers: where next?

On the day before the Carter Review is expected to publish its awaited report there has been a flurry of interest in the use of unqualified teachers. Since the data from the DfE is nearly a year old and relates to data collected from schools in November 2013 it might not be expected to be a topic to attract much interest. However, perhaps it has been a slow news day ahead of Carter and at least one post on another bog appeared on the subject this week.
It is worth reminding ourselves of the DfE definition of an ‘unqualified teacher’. Such a person is: ‘a teacher in an LA maintained school is either a trainee working towards qualified teacher status; an overseas trained teacher without QTS or an instructor who has a particular skill who can be employed for so long as a qualified teacher is not available.’ Now an academy may employ such people according to the doctrine of the former Secretary of State. Michael Gove but the DfE definition doesn’t seem to have caught up with that change in their School Workforce Survey, at least in the 2013 edition.
However, it probably doesn’t matter because the total number of unqualified teachers in November 2013 was still below that in the early 2000s during the Labour government’s period in office. In November 2013 there were 17,100 unqualified teachers in all state funded schools in England compared with 18,800 in 2005 and 18,200 in 2006. The 2013 figure will have included both those on the first year of Teach First, a programme introduced by Labour, and probably those on the School Direct salaried route where they are employed by schools. As their predecessors on Labour GTTP Scheme were also included in the totals there is little change methodology there, although the supposed popularity of the scheme might have been expected to boost the numbers. But, this blog has already pointed out that there are fewer School Direct salaried trainees this year than there were GTTP trainees in secondary schools a few years ago.
It would be helpful to know how many instructors are being employed in schools by returning to the separate categories for trainees and ‘instructors and other unqualified teachers’ employed by the DfE until a few years ago. This would allow commentators to check trends in genuinely unqualified staff that had no intention of obtaining a teaching qualification. Such numbers are important to know with a looming teacher supply crisis and mixing up school-based trainees and staff recruited to fill vacancies otherwise unfilled or because a schools doesn’t believe in the present preparation methods for teachers isn’t helpful, but perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.
Tomorrow is the official launch of TeachVac our free service for schools seeking secondary classroom teachers and trainees looking for their first job. http://www.teachvac.co.uk has already attracted sufficient trainees to make over 1,000 matches in the first two weeks of January and provide valuable information about the state of the job market. Do take a look at the video on the site if this is an area of interest.

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