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Academies told they can hire "unqualified" teachers

Category: Headlines

Published: 27th Jul 2012 15:44:04

England's new academy schools can now hire as teachers people who do not hold the formal qualification in teaching, the government has said.

Officials say this means they will be free to hire "great linguists, computer scientists and other specialists who have not worked in state schools before".

Until now, most state schools could only employ people with what is known as "Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)".

Independent schools were exempt.

The change brings academies in line with the new free schools, which are already free to employ people without QTS.

It has angered the teaching unions, who say all children should be taught by a qualified teacher.

Academies, like free schools, are funded by the state but are semi-independent, outside of local authority control and have greater freedom over the curriculum and teachers' pay and conditions than other schools.

The government says it still expects "the vast majority" of teachers to have the qualification, but that the change will allow head teachers to bring in professionals with "great knowledge and new skills".

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "This policy will free up academies to employ professionals - like scientists, engineers, musicians, university professors, and experienced teachers and heads from overseas and the independent sector - who may be extremely well-qualified and are excellent teachers, but do not have QTS status."

Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "This is a perverse decision by the Department for Education and a clear dereliction of duty.

"The NUT believes all children deserve to be taught by qualified teachers.

"Parents and teachers will see this as a cost-cutting measure that will cause irreparable damage to children's education."

The changes will apply to schools switching to become academies. Existing academies will have to apply to make the change by altering their contract (funding agreement) with the government.

About half of England's secondary schools are now either academies or are in the process of becoming academies. Only a small percentage of primary schools have made the change.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) described the change as a "significant backward step which may damage the professionalism of teaching at a time when we should be strengthening it".

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BBC News, 2012. Academies told they can hire "unqualified" teachers [Online] (Updated 27th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1443115/Academies-told-they-can-hire-unqualified-teachers [Accessed 28th Aug 2014]

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