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How many of you are using unqualified staff to teach?

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

  1. I believe it is illegal to teach science with practicals if they are not a qualified science teacher. I think this also has something to do with insurance.
  2. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    I think you're right - but all that happened was that the kids didn't do any practical work. Actually, the kids didn't actually do any work. Leave a bunch of 15 year olds with someone who isn't a 'proper' teacher and who hasn't had any training and they quickly pick up on this. They just sat and chatted with their mates or messed about.
  3. I have seen this before, easier for the one who is covering.
  4. I agree to a some extent, however, there are exceptions to this. I am one, I am an UQ HT having taught for about 8 years without QTS in the independent sector and at Uni. I am a natural teacher and it was for me a vocation that I discovered in my mid 30s. I was teaching PT at Uni as a Postgrad in my own subject. A desperate local independent Small School asked me to teach English (not my subject but related) I took it on as a PT job to fund my postgrad studies...predictably my aims changed and I have gone on to be HT at the same school. Can I qualify? Can I *&%$!!! To do PGCE even part time would take me away from the school for too long. We are too small to do GT and even if we weren't the placements would take me away from the school for too long. This is the same for all the Unqualified staff here.
    I know that my circumstances are truly unusual but the difficulties for career changers are not and they often make wonderful teachers. We need to simplify training if we want to encourage people with life experience as well as subject knowledge into the system. I know that I will never go into a mainstream state school, luckily I don't want to, it isn't where my interests or skills lie, but thats a bit of luck really and isn't it silly? It grieves me that I can't offer our younger staff here the opportunity to qualify. As we are all PT we have many retired teachers and our young teachers and TAs are trained by teachers with more than 200 years teaching experience between them (6 greybeards!) and the enthusiasm to carry on into their 70s (not generally found in bad teachers!)
    I am not over romanticising when I say teaching should be a vocation. If you don't feel passionate about it, then don't do it. No system will ever encompass everybody who wants to teach, nor will any method of training weed out all those who are awful at it. I agree that getting TA's to teach is appalling but then I do wonder how different it is to what NQTs get asked. I was astonished (and a bit envious) when my friend in mainstream embarked on her post NQT year at a new grammar school with a whole year's worth of lesson plans handed down from on high. If that is what our newly qualified teachers are doing it is is not so significantly different from getting a TA to deliver it. Here our students are taught Maths, English, ICT and Humanities by a combination of philosophers (DPhil), classicists (DPhil) cooks (pub cook - as in how to cook not Food Tech which is of no earthly use except as a bit of paper), ICT professionals (one writes software the other runs a support company), Entrepreneurs/Accountants for Business Studies etc. Its a system that works for us. I think qualification is overrated because it is over-relied upon. It says a lot that young teachers who come from mainstream don't cope with our kids, whereas those who have taught for a long time love it here. I remember once a young teacher who had come from a mainstream background running up to me in a bit of a panic saying "I can't get them to do the lesson I had planned - help" I replied "so wing it - do something else" "I haven't got anything else prepared" "so ask them what they would like to do" stunned silence...and at the time she had been teaching for longer than me.Needless to say she didn't last. I think that over-reliance on qualification devalues individuality and that makes our system all the poorer. Qualify for those that can yes, but for those who practically or financially find it impossible but are suitable then there should be wider availibility of the scheme to qualify by assessment only. How about the GTC awarding on the recommendations of 2 HTs and a body of work?
    sabrinakat likes this.
  5. what a btreath of fresh air! This is exactly the problem Michael Groves needs to address, how can he expect standards to be raised when kids are left to flounder with UQ staff in situ. Why doesn't Ofsted pick up on this? or do they turn a blind eye? Because of this mal practice, our Education stinks!!!!!! when compared to other nations. If my son was taught by an UQ staff member, there woul;d be a law suit whinging its way towards the local LA. Parents need to be aware of this, I know the kids are, and I often advise parents on taking legal action. Of course a majority of HT have their heads firmly in the sand and do not admit to anything, the nearest post to that of a MP, never tell the truth. Sorry to harp on but I rate this alongside of bullying in schools, and yet to hear from a HT that it exists in their school- OMG- its about time they woke up and smelt the stench of bad practice!!!!!!!!!!!
    Good luck, you sound like a teacher that is passionate about education, but be careful out there, there are lots of moles waiting to dob you in to the HT.

  6. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    LOL..if this was addressed to me,Dave, I am fairly unworried. I'm sure you are correct, but as I point out - HT don't want to employ me because I am highly qualified, highly experienced and therefore highly expensive. I have had enough of trying to keep my mouth shut about appalling practice in schools I have been in to in the hope of getting more work. Now I feel I might as well say, 'how are you getting away with this? Is this not illegal? Do you not feel ashamed of the shoddy education you are providing for your students?'
  7. If that is what our newly qualified teachers are doing it is is not so significantly different from getting a TA to deliver it.

    So the TA has had a PGCE worth of teaching management, behavioural training and experience of actual teaching within placements in different schools?

    While I love the wing it comment - I used to love now and again not planning, and starting the lesson with a few words, then developing the lesson as it went - btw I had the highest GCSE and AV's in the department - I do feel very strongly that a PGCE and QTS is the way forward. While there will always be natural teachers, and I do agree that teaching is a vocation not a career, PGCE and QTS is the way forward. Without that it is like saying that a doctor who is great with first aid should work in A&E, or an accountant should teach Business - while they may excel in accounts, there is far more to teaching business than having such a narrow field.
    I am a supply teacher - a good one at that, trying to get back into perm. work, too expensive, fighting NQT's for jobs, and now HT's feel it appropriate to put a TA or CS, or any UQ person in front of a class.
    Why do we teach students that qualifications are important then use the example of a person in teaching without the appropriate qualifications?
    I am sick and tired of reading comments that state that a TA or CS, or any tom dick or harry is capable of teaching. Get a grip please! Of course there will be exceptions but those exceptions are few and far between.
    Economics. A simple and plain fact!

  8. I do take your point on this one, subject knowledge and crowd control skills are extremely important and not likely to have been taught to TA's to the same level. My point was merely that it is not as though the TA's are thrown in with no materials and also that the NQTs are themselves only delivering someone else's materials. There is a similarity. I totally agree with the OP that we should not be relying on TA's or other ancilliary staff to deliver courses.

    My wider point was that qualification should be facilitated for those who change career and the system made more flexible to make it accessible for those wishing to qualify. Its all well and good the government wanting more career changers in teaching but they have to make the system easier for them to access.

    As to your point about placements. I heartly agree, however, the rigidity of the placements system means that small schools like ours can't actually afford to lose teachers for that long. As we are independent (SEN) we cannot avail ourselves of any funding. We are a tiny anomaly perhaps but we could be one that provides useful specialist teacher training in an alternative style of education....as it stands we cannot. That is sort of silly limitation I would like to see go.
  9. Why do we teach students that qualifications are important then use the example of a person in teaching without the appropriate qualifications?
  10. Hi there,
    <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

    </font>I have followed this thread with some interest. I am a
    supply teacher, looking for a permanent post but getting little supply because
    of the use of UQ staff and not much luck with permanent posts because I am too expensive.
    ( don&rsquo;t tell me I&rsquo;m not when invited to an interview and I&rsquo;m up against 8 NQTs,
    makes the equal opportunities form look good though).
    <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

    </font>Now on the basis of UQs can deliver in a classroom as well
    as a teacher, (utter rubbish in my opinion). Using that argument, before
    gaining QTS I worked in senior management in multi-national companies for 17
    years. As schools are now classed as a business and have to monitor budgets and
    account for how they spend their money I would argue that I am more qualified,
    (Experience wise), than most of the HTs running schools.
    <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

    </font>So if there is anyone out there who wants to give me a job
    as a HT with business and teaching experience I will undercut your current Head
    by &pound;10,000 pa.
    <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

    </font>Still waiting for a Head to have the guts to admit they are
    using UQ staff. I too have seen the amount of UQ staff used in secondary
    <font size="3" face="Times New Roman">

  11. I think you will be waiting a long time for Heads to admit they are using UQ staff. I to am a supply teacher of many years and before had 22 years in industry, some of them in management, and can back up what you said.
  12. how many parents would accept their children going into hospital to be operated on by an unqualified surgeon??? not any methinks. I totally agree that whilst we have some excellent teaching assisitants they are not qualified to teach and we devalue the profession by allowing this to continue.
  13. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    Well, I can tell you this - every single school I go into this year and discover that they have timetabled TAs to teach I shall be reporting to my union and demanding they kick up hell (I'm NUT; they said from the start this would happen and refused to sign workload agreement). I shall also be reporting them to the LEA, and demanding to know how they are getting away with using unqualified teachers when there are qualified ones available.
  14. Marvellous, that is what we should all be doing! I think we should start a campaign.
  15. Well, this is a reply from the Govt. regarding the use of UQ teachers....

    Thank you for your email dated 21 August regarding the use of unqualified teachers in schools.

    I note your concerns. It may be helpful if I explain that the
    Specified Work Regulations govern the restricted circumstances under
    which people other than qualified teachers can teach in schools.
    Unqualified teachers are overseas-trained teachers who have not yet got
    Qualified Teacher Status, instructors, trainee teachers on either
    employment-based programmes or other initial teacher training

    &ldquo;Instructors&rdquo; are deemed to have specialist knowledge and
    experience but may only work in schools until such time as a qualified
    teacher becomes available. Cover supervision or unqualified
    support staff should only be used during the short term absence of
    teachers. Medium or long term absence should be covered by a teacher and
    supply teachers will continue to play a vital role here. Support
    staff cannot and should not be used to replace teachers. However, it
    can be both appropriate and effective for teaching assistants to carry
    out some teaching roles, including delivering lessons. Schools
    are free to make their own decisions about how to cover for teacher
    absence provided that they comply with the statutory provisions set out
    in the Specified Work Regulations.

    Once again thank you for writing.
    So is it just me, or is this totally confusing?
    So it can be appropriate, but not to replace teachers?
  16. Look at the DfE defintions of "cover" and "teacher absence". Both occur only during lessons timetabled to be taught by teachers. So for PPA time teachers are not timetabled to teach nor are they deemed to be absence. So support staff should only be employed for short term cover (3 days) so this should not apply for PPA. So when support staff are used during PPA time they are actually replacing teachers.
    A DfE official has stated that any "cover" should be directed and supervised by a classroom teacher - they are not allowed to do that during their PPA time.
  17. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    So, you should not be able to timetable a TA to teach 8 periods of English a week at KS3 then, Bronco? This school has made no attempt to get a qualified teacher to teach several of their subjects - they've employed a full time teacher and obviously got about 8 extra lessons a week that they don't want to bother appointing someone qualified to do - they've just put an unqualified member of staff down to do that!
  18. bobbycatrules

    bobbycatrules New commenter

    I can comment from both sides of the UQ teacher and QTS teacher debate. I became an unqualifed teacher ten years ago when there was a national shortage of teachers- this is fair enough if there is literally no qualified teacher to deliver a class.
    However, since there are so many unemployed teachers with QTS, this reason for using instructors no longer stands. My most compelling reason for using teachers with QTS is that as UQ teacher I thought I knew a lot about 'teaching' until I actually did the training and realised that there were huge gaps in my knowledge.
    Not just anyone can teach, hence why we have to go through (difficult) teacher training.
    My biggest bug- bear is HLTA's and CS's who say that they are 'teachers' and the usually arrogant attitude they have towards teachers because they think they are on a par with them. Most of them are not too bright either, but have got the job because they have domineering personalities.
  19. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    Schools are free to make their own decisions about how to cover for teacher absence provided that they comply with the statutory provisions set out in the Specified Work Regulations. .........................................................................................
    How often have we all seen such a reply.................... The powers that be omit everytime to clearly show what is Specified Work and what the Regulations are..............................anyone know them........ I am sure we would all like to know what they are and where we can find out about them............ I have tried and still not found the Regulations.
  20. Pennyforyourthoughts

    Pennyforyourthoughts Occasional commenter

    PPA time is not timetabled. PPA time is a teachers free periods to do their planning, preparation and assessments.
    PPA cover happened because another teacher was away and they had to cover another teacher, often not their subject, because they were, sick, or at a meeting or some other school or personal reason. Rarely Cover meant that every teacher had protected free periods. Timetabling support staff regularly for the same classes amounts to cheap teaching cover. If its regular then it comes under the regulation that its a 'known absence' and for known absences supply teachers should be booked in advance. I am amazed how many schools do not adhere to this and many other regulations.

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