More and more qualified educators are quitting the squeezed profession
by Felicity Collier
MORE than half a million students in state-funded schools are being taught by unqualified teachers thanks to continued Tory failure in education, Labour reveals today.
Labour researchers found a 62 per cent rise in the number of unqualified teachers since 2012, when the Con-Dem coalition scrapped the requirement that all permanent teachers had to be qualified.
The Tories have missed their teacher training targets for five years in a row — and more teachers continue to leave the profession than enter it.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said that standards in education depend “fundamentally on the quality of the teachers,” and promised that it would “reform” teacher training and do more to support those entering the profession.
But up to 613,000 pupils in state-funded schools are being taught by unqualified teachers, with one-quarter of the teachers that qualified in 2011 having already left teaching.
Shadow schools minister Mike Kane MP, a former teacher, said: “The government have completely failed in their most basic of tasks and are clearly relying on unqualified teachers to plug the gaps.
“Unqualified teachers have no guaranteed training in safeguarding children, controlling a class or adapting teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils. But under the Tories, they’re responsible for the education of hundreds of thousands of our children.”
Teachers’ union NUT said it had found in a recent survey of parents that 80 per cent would not want their children to attend a school that did not require its teachers to have professional teaching qualifications.
A further 73 per cent of parents believed that the move was designed to save money rather than improve standards.
The Commons education select committee has said that pressures on budgets will lead to more unqualified teachers and larger class sizes.
Teachers have seen a £3 per hour pay drop since 2015, an academic study revealed earlier this month, with the government’s hated 1 per cent public-sector pay cap set to remain in place for another year.
The Department for Education did not respond to requests for comment.