Cool reception for Tory idea on teaching

21 Jan 2010

While David Cameron's insistence that the most important factor in education is the quality of teachers has gone down well with the education community, his party's specific proposals on limiting recruitment to the profession have not been so welcome.

Calling for a 'brazenly elitist' approach, Mr Cameron said a Conservative government would not fund applicants to teacher training if they have anything less than a Lower Second class degree. 

 Today, while chairing a conference on 'Leadership in Schools', I conducted a straw poll to see what support there would be for blocking those with Third Class degrees from teaching.

 When I asked the audience of about 60 senior teachers, heads and education managers if they supported the Tory proposal, not a single hand went up.

All the speakers at the event - including a successful head teacher and senior representatives of Teach First, Future Leaders, and Veredus - insisted that other qualities were just as important as academic ability. These qualities included: honesty, the ability to inspire others, humility, leadership, resilience, passion, 'loving kids', and partnership.  

I shall be writing more about David Cameron's speech in my BBC column this weekend. 

User Comments

Gary Mander - 25 Jan 2010


I'm glad to see that the continuing political tennis has started over education. We wait with baited breath as each party roles out manifesto promises that make schools harder places to manage, gives greater powers to parents and pupils and encourages all and sundry to tell us we are doing a bad job in almost every aspect. Perhaps it's about time that it is made law that if you head or shadow a government office then you should go and work at an establishment within its remit. For example for defence drive a tank on the front line in Afghanistan; health work in an accident and emergency department during a weekend night; or education working in an inner city secondary school where getting the children in is an achievement. The trouble is now that political parties spend so much time trying to get media coverage their ideas are so far from reality they become nonsense. So what if the Tories want to make teaching an elite profession by stopping third class graduates from entering the profession makes no difference what your qualification is it's all about getting the best out of children and a good first class honours degree or masters does not mean you will be a first class teacher. The problem with education and to be honest society in general is that we've forgotten that there are alot of decent people out there. The system wants a controlled system where everyone is judged by qualifications and if not that can you prove your not a paedophile . Why don't political parties stand up and say we are going to give schools back to the heads and governors and let you educate the children and stop wasting everybodys time and effort

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