Home > Education Policy > QTS, Inequality and Political Footballs

QTS, Inequality and Political Footballs

This month’s #blogsync, in conjunction with Labour teachers, invites bloggers to write an open letter to Tristram Hunt, the shadow secretary of state for Education. Here is mine:

Dear Mr Hunt,

Welcome to your new role, I think that this invite is a novel and brilliant idea and hope more politicians look to engage with the electorate in a similar manner.

I would like to raise a few points that I feel should be at the forefront of the debate on education and that I hope you will look into, raise in the house if appropriate and even include in your next manifesto if you are inclined.

Qualified teacher status

I think that the current administrations decision to remove the requirement of QTS is terrifying, damaging and dangerous. It removes the professional status of teachers and really does make a mockery of the whole thing. I fully believe that all teachers should have, or be working towards, QTS, or some equivalent and I hope that you do too. Having a qualification guarantees an adequate subject and pedagogical knowledge which enables teachers to ensure that all pupils get the best education possible. Overlooking it at best, I.e. for the top academics, might mean you have extremely brilliant historians standing in front of classes unable to impart any knowledge at all. At worst it might mean unscrupulous heads employing people with neither subject knowledge nor teaching skill to cut costs.

Inequality

I stand fully against inequality anywhere, but especially in education. My ideal world would see an end to any inequality. I would bring control of all schools back into the public sector. Removing private education and faith schools entirely is, in my opinion, the only way to create a truly integrated society where everyone has the same opportunities. I think private schools create an elitist culture and increase the gap between rich and poor.

People like James Keir Hardie fought for free and equal education for all, and this is currently under threat. The recent talk of charging the wealthy for state education is dangerous, and risks the reversal of the long fight to make education universal, and not just the property of the upper classes. The wealthiest would surely, if forced to pay, opt for the smaller class sizes and better facilities offered by the private sector, leaving the pupils coming from poorer backgrounds to make the best of a state education being run on a shoestring.

Political football

I think that too often education has become a political football. Governments use it to stamp their authority and this can be very damaging for the pupils. I hope that in the future more safeguards could be put in place to prevent this, and to ensure that the future of the young people of Britain is at the forefront. I would like to see teachers more involved in policy making and perhaps a reduction in the power of the Department of Education. Although I would be terrified if the control were to move entirely out of government control as we would no longer be in a full democracy. I have read about a Scandinavian country (I think it was Denmark) where the secretary of state had two advisers with him constantly, both of who were front line practitioners, and this struck me as an excellent idea.

Those are the three main issues I have at the moment.

Thanks

Stephen

Further Reading

You can read all this month’s #blogsync entries here.

I have written previous about the issues of inequality and education as a political football.

Victoria Coren Mitchell has written this eloquent piece on the state school fees issue.

Chris Hildrew has also written on the inequality issue here.

Tom Sherrington has written this excellent piece on the QTS debate.

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  1. January 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Primary Blogging.

  2. kqrzq
    January 28, 2015 at 10:38 am

    An interesting post/letter. A few thoughts.

    “Having a qualification guarantees an adequate subject and pedagogical knowledge which enables teachers to ensure that all pupils get the best education possible”

    Sadly it really doesn’t. I qualified alongside a student who was unable to convert a decimal to a fraction and I’ve often had colleagues who are qualified teachers coming to me for help with basic maths questions.

    “..you have extremely brilliant historians standing in front of classes unable to impart any knowledge at all.”

    Was this a reference to Simon Starkey I wonder? In my opinion it’s a myth that “brilliant” people often can’t teach. It’s certainly not QTS that made me an adequate teacher, it’s my interest in my subject, my knowledge of my subject above and beyond what I teach and most of all years of experience. None of that came from getting a PGCE.

    ” ..a truly integrated society where everyone has the same opportunities.. ”

    Worth working for. 🙂

  1. April 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm
  2. May 31, 2014 at 2:11 pm
  3. July 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm

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