Bitesize education news: Troops to Teachers, nuns and non-QTS, girls treated unequally in Muslim private school

Janet Downs's picture
There’s too much going on in English education to do full threads especially as two parties announce schools policy today. So here’s a quick round-up of three stories:

Troops for Teachers

A sense of déjà-vu accompanies the DfE press release headlined ‘talented service leavers encourage to consider teaching’. Haven’t we been here before? Troops for Teachers (T4T) has been going for some years now but it only recruited 41 in the first cohort and 61 in the second.

But Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced the scheme will expand. She said, ‘feedback from headteachers on the positive impact career changers can have in their school has been outstanding.’ But careers changers could be from any background not just ex-forces personnel.

Another woolly statement from Morgan - she’s making this rather a habit. Twice she’s been pulled up by the UK Statistics watchdog. And she’s still claiming the UK plummeted down league tables under Labour’s watch.

In December, Sir Michael Wilshaw reported the number of entrants into teacher training had fallen by 17% since 2009/10 – there are 8,000 fewer secondary trainees. If T4T has the same track record as previously in the next two years, recruiting 102 ex-forces personnel isn’t going to make much of a dent.

Unqualified teachers

Following Tristram Hunt’s comment about nuns and qualified teacher status (QTS) on last week’s Question Time, researchers crunched the QTS figures. They found state-funded Catholic schools were among the least likely to employ non-QTS teachers: just 2.8% of teachers in Catholic schools were unqualified. This compares with 2.9% in CofE schools and 3.6% in state schools with no faith designation. The state-funded schools most likely to employ non-QTS teachers were Jewish (9%) and Muslim (7%).

The authors said the existence of faith schools caused problems with social segregation particularly as newer faith schools are opening. Some of these caused segregation on both religious and ethnic grounds, the report’s writers said. They accepted it wasn’t possible to deny some faith groups their own schools when schools for other religions already existed but they feared this could fracture society further.

The solution, the authors suggested, was to remove the faith designation from all state-funded schools.

The authors also looked at the proportion of non-QTS teachers in types of school. Local authority maintained schools were least likely to employ untrained teachers – only 2.6% are unqualified. Free schools had the greatest proportion: nearly one-in-five (18.9%) teachers in free schools have no teaching qualification. 4.9% of teachers in academies are non-QTS.

Inequality of provision for girls at Islamic private school judged Inadequate

Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School, a private Muslim all-through school in Luton, was judged Inadequate last year. A recent monitoring report found unequal treatment of girls remained a ‘key problem’. Boys spent more time on ‘secular’ national curriculum studies than girls; girls had less access to laboratory facilities than boys and the newly-introduced D&T curriculum confined girls to ‘knitting and sewing’. There’s nothing wrong with these subjects, of course, and boys should be introduced to them (I speak as an enthusiastic tricoteur and stitcher). But all pupils should be able to experience the full D&T curriculum.

And boys should never be privileged over girls.
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Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 16/02/2015 - 14:41

Troops to Teachers: 'Expanding a scheme that encourages former soldiers and other service personnel to train as teachers only “scratches the surface” of solving the recruitment crisis in schools.' Schools Week 13 Feb 2015.

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