17,000 bad teachers: I don't think so

11 Nov 2007

Sir Cyril Taylor, chair of the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, says there are 17,000 'poor' teachers who should be removed from our schools.

 But what is the basis for this claim (which echoes a similar claim many years back from Chris Woodhead, although he thought there were only 15,000 bad teachers)?

 Sir Cyril based his estimate on an extrapolation of Ofsted's judgment that 10% of secondary schools are 'inadequate'. 10% of all secondary teachers would be about 17-18,000 people.

But is it fair to say that all teachers in  poorly-performing schools are themselves poor? I don't think so.

 In fact,  the same Ofsted report he uses as his source says only 5% of teaching is 'inadequate'. So that would be around  9,000 poor teachers.

 Even one poor teacher in every 20 is, of course, one too many. But how many other professions would have a better record? And what's more, this is an improvement on previous years.  

 Was this really a sound basis for throwing up our hands in horror?


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