A recent decision by Britain’s Department of Education to allow academies to hire teachers without the qualified teacher status required to teach in state schools has drawn criticism from Chris Husbands, Professor at the Institute of Education at London University. Husbands said that the assertions that teachers without the QTS make better instructors isn’t supported by the evidence collected.
The rule change is meant to allow academies to seek out teachers among experts in the subject area they wish to instruct in but who have not had any experience leading a class before. Dropping the QTS requirement would allow schools to find teachers in subjects that have traditionally been hard to staff, such as engineering, science and mathematics.
Predictably, the decision didn’t sit well with unions that represent teachers around the country, who say that all students, in state school or academies, deserve instructors who are fully qualified.
Professor Husbands also weighed in on his blog saying that the decision flies in the face of recent research in Britain and abroad, that what determines teacher effectiveness most of all is the quality of the initial teacher education. Husband noted that due to the recent overhauls, the teacher education programs in England are now “rigorous, relevant and of high quality,” and there’s no data that shows that allowing instructors into the classroom before going through teacher training produces better quality of instruction, and improved student outcomes.
“There is simply no research evidence at all to suppose that lowering the bar and recruiting significant numbers of unqualified teachers will do anything other than lower standards.
“Teaching is a complex, higher order skill and it depends on high quality training.”
Husbands added that he hoped that the ministers would reverse the rule before it went into effect this November, and said that by asserting that no instructional training is needed in order to become a good teacher, the new rule not only diminishes the value of teacher training and certification programs, it also cast a bad light on the profession in its entirety.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We expect the vast majority of teachers will continue to have QTS, and no existing teacher contract is affected.
“Independent schools and free schools can already hire brilliant people who have not got QTS, and we are extending this flexibility to all academies so more schools can hire great linguists, computer scientists, engineers and other specialists who have not worked in state schools before.