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How many of you are using unqualified staff to teach?

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by jmntsp, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    I'm interested in how many schools are using unqualified staff to teach. I've just finished supply in a secondary school and am horrified to find that no one in the IT dept who was teaching had QTS (or even a degree). They had apparently 'worked in industry'. 1 TA teaching 7 periods of Maths a week at KS3. 1 TA teaching 8 periods of English a week at KS3. 1 TA teaching French for 8 periods and also History for 3 periods. None of these TAs were qualified at all - none even had A levels in the subjects, never mind degree. Outside CS brought in for 4 weeks to cover for Head of Maths - he was relative of SMT and had a degree - in Geog. No QTS though. Is this legal? And how common is it please? I am so shocked. How is this Head getting away with this? No wonder so many of us are struggling for work. I've taught for over 20 years and can't believe this is possible.
  2. Legal.
    Common place.
    Good practice - think very few would say it was - budget friendly though!
  3. I have looked into this as I inherited something slightly similar in a school I came to a while ago. With HR support we went through the legal documents which underpin the Pay & Conditions doc (not easy to find). UQ Teachers have to have a degree, Instructors have to have a relevant qualification which a qualified teacher can't provide eg canoeing. Then there are GTP Teachers who have to qualify within 2 years of starting an accredited course. This all applies to Class Teachers but not cover staff. The school has to risk assess all cover staff and monitor their work to ensure quality is maintained. I believe UQ teachers are employed when a qualified teacher can't be found & I've heard of this in Special Schools.
  4. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    So are you still using all these UQ TAs to teach classes? And do you honestly think the kids in your school are getting a great education, delivered by qualified and dedicated professionals? Would you be happy for your kid to be taught a lot of their lessons by TAs who don't know what the heck they're doing? Cos I certainly wouldn 't. I think any HT who is using anyone to teach who does not have a degree and QTS should hang their head in shame - and should blush to put out any kind of BS mission statement that says anything along the lines of 'education is important to us'. Be honest and put out a statement for your school that says 'we're committed to providing the cheapest and shoddiest education for your kid we think we'll get away with'. (Not aimed at you personally, transilvanian. Well.....not unless you continued using the unqualified staff you inherited)
  5. As a result of a survey that I have conducted under the Freedom of Information Act I would say that only about 40% of primary age children have a qualified teacher to teach them for all their time in school. The other 60% are being "taught" by unqualified teachers or support staff during PPA time. This is despite the fact that all classes and groups timetabled for core and foundation subjects must be assigned a qualified teacher to teach them.
    What was just as worrying for me was the poor response from schools the majority of whom did not respond to this survey - for instance only 10 of the 121 primary schools in Manchester replied to my survey. Other schools refused to provide the information asked for, claiming, for instance, that gathering the information was too time consuming, that the information was not held or that releasing the information would be a breach of the Data Protection Act.
    Another major worry was the number of schools that provided obviously misleading information. Many schools seemed to indicate that there was no PPA taking place - how could a school of 10 classes with 10 full time class teachers have no other staff to undertake PPA duties or have no classes with a staff member taking PPA time.
  6. The conspiracy of silence might be people on holiday. I don't use UQ teachers or instructors but do know some special schools who can't get qualified teachers to work there so take people with a degree, just like private schools often do. There must be alot of UQ Teachers about as they have a TES forum. Their employment rights are very poor I believe eg periods of notice and poor salary increments. Isn't PPA itself the issue here? Have standards, recruitment or work-life balance improved since it was introduced? Anyone done a survey on that?
  7. I have done a survey of PPA provisions (see my previous post) That shows quite clearly that schools are using unqualified teachers and support staff for PPA on a large scale. An additional fact to that I quoted above was that for every qualified teacher performing PPA duties there are 3 unqualified teachers or support staff teaching during a class teacher's PPA time.
    The work life balance for full time teachers may have improved but the opportunities for supply teachers to gain work has been destroyed because of the use of unqualified staff for PPA work and cover for absent teachers.
    As for the conspiracy of silence holidays do not come into it. The survey I conducted was done during term time and the response was extremely poor. HTs have ignored the Freedom of Information Act and have refused to provide the information in one way or another. Why is that? What have they got to hide?
  8. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    To get back to my original post.....I wasn't talking PE, or primary. I was talking about unqualified people, ie no degree, no teacher training teaching 11-14 year olds in English, Maths, French, History and Science. Actually, the unqualified person teaching Science was also teaching GCSE Science. I think this is appalling. As a teacher I wouldn't be pleased to find my 8 year old son's primary school was using unqualified staff - but as a parent I wouldn't seriously be worried about his future prospects if I discovered they had one of the dads in coaching football a couple of times a week. I also have a 15 year old son......and I'd be bloody furious if I discovered that his school were using an unqualified TA to deliver ANY of his GCSE lessons whatsoever. I'll repeat the question.....how many of you HTs would be happy to have your own offspring taught by unqualified staff?
  9. Your school is accountable to you as a member of staff and parent. Transparency is really important. If you have an issue, address it direct with the school concerned. You seem to be implying that secondary schools are widely using UQ Teachers for regular class teaching yet I can't see your evidence for this. Why don't you write to the Chair of Gov's in said school, give your evidence and ask for a response. No one on this Forum can answer for the school you are describing. I am sure that secondary heads can account for how they run their schools and are confident with the quality of provision they offer but I am sure you won't get a response to this question as to me it seems an issue for one school you have visited.
  10. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    Thank you transilvanian. I understand what you are saying, but I wasn't implying that secondary schools are widely using UQ teachers - my original post was asking how many HT were using UQ staff. I was then fairly shocked that the response seemed to be shrugged shoulders and a 'yeah....terrrible. But awfully cheap and fairly common'. Yes, I could write to the Chair of Govs. Do you think that school will give me supply work again? Or that they won't blacken my name around surrounding schools? I'm not confident of that. As a supply teacher, unfortunately, work is very scarce and getting more so - due to use of UQ staff, cover supervisors, etc. In our area, in all different secondary schools I've been into they have TAs doing their day to day cover. You only get any supply if it's long term illness. I am pretty sure writing to various Gov asking for a response is the way to make myself permanently unemployed, thanks very much! If I discovered it was happening in my own child's school I would be kicking up hell - until then I was simply trying to establish how common this actually is. And whether it is legal.
  11. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    You are mixing the technical meaning of unqualified with the literal meaning. Unqualified, in this context, does not necessarily mean no degree (i.e. it does not mean having no qualifications).
  12. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    I have no idea what you are waffling on about. I was talking about people who are unqualified to teach. Qualification to teach requires a degree and QTS; these people had neither. Arguing the semantics of whether I was speaking technically, literally, or indeed metaphorically seems pathetically pointless and pedantic. Indeed, the TA concerned may well hold a 50 yards swimming badge, or have a CSE in Art that I am unaware of. They are, however, not a qualified teacher and therefore should not be teaching.
  13. As a supply teacher I have just finished a year with little substantial work.
    It is easy to hide behind the "TA's and CS's know the students", and "There are no subject specialist supply teachers", I know of more than one school that is using teaching staff to fill in for cover over the agreed limits.
    We are talking simply economics.
    The only way forward, is for schools to publish the hours that they have UQ QTS teachers in front of students over a school year. Let the parents decide.
    I am tired of reading posts on this forum from Heads stating that yes, it is proper to place UQ staff in front of students. The fact that they may argue it is allowable illustrates any "proper care and attention" to the education of the students within the school.
    You should hang your head with shame.
  14. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    Having re-read your posts, I was mistaken. I thought you were making a point generally about unqualified staff not having a degree but I now see that you were talking about specific staff you had encountered. Many apologies.
  15. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

  16. We use a mixture of QTS and non here. However, even in a small independent school catering mainly for SEN we require that anyone delivering a subject in KS3/4 has a degree as a minimum. Cover arrangements are an occasional exception to that rule. We wouldn't countenance non degree qualified staff as permanent subject teachers- with the exception of ICT for which industry and practical experience are fine and we would appoint more on skillset and disposition than on qualifications.
  17. This is an interesting debate. What makes a good teacher? Do you need qualified teacher status to teach a subject you have a good degree in? I recall having graduates teaching ALevel subjects many years ago eg. an awful Oxford academic trying to enthuse us about Milton. Dreadful. Many qualified teachers who teach subjects are equally lacking in the ability to put learning across and many are inspirational. An intelligent person who is well enough educated, perhaps to degree level, needs an aptitude for teaching and excellent role models around them. In Primary education intelligence is key and the ability to understand child development and an enthusiasm for learning. I'm not too impressed with what is covered to achieve qualified teacher status. A good Head teacher could train a talented graduate on the job. In the old days a teaching certificate could be gained 2 years after ALevels, rather like the HLTA course.
    hubcap likes this.
  18. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Where is the forum for Unqualified Teachers? Looked and I cannot see it?
  19. Try Cover supervisors and Teaching assistants...
  20. I must say jmntsp you make the case for ONLY having qualified teaching staff most compellingly.

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