Saturday, 26 October 2013

Nick Clegg on Qualified Teachers in Education

In his speech a few days ago Nick Clegg said:

“Parents don’t want ideology to get in the way of their children’s education. They don’t care about the latest political label attached to their child’s school. What they want, and expect, is that their children are taught by good teachers, get taught a core body of knowledge, and get a healthy meal every day.

“What is the point of having a slimmed-down national curriculum if only a few schools have to teach it? Let’s teach it in all our schools.  And what is the point of having brilliant new food standards if only a few schools have to stick to the rules? Let’s have quality food in all our schools.

“That’s my philosophy. Diversity amongst schools, yes. But good universal standards all parents can rely on too.  And, frankly, it makes no sense to me to have qualified teacher status if only a few schools have to employ qualified teachers.

“That’s why I believe we should have qualified teachers in all our schools. That means free schools and academies too. “

Why did Liberal Democrats vote for Gove’s school reforms?

Liberal Democrats are strong supporters of more freedom and autonomy for schools, so voted for the Academies Act in 2010.  There was nothing in the Act that meant academies were no longer required to employ qualified teachers.  The requirement was removed by Michael Gove in August 2012 and did not require legislation.

We are clear that in 2015 Liberal Democrats will have a distinctive offer on education, supporting school freedom but underpinned by some basic standards that all parents can expect for their child.

Do David Laws and Nick Clegg disagree on this?

David Laws and Nick Clegg both voted for the party’s policy on qualified teachers in March 2013 and David Laws has been closely involved in writing this speech.

In the House of Commons on Thursday David Laws stated very clearly that “we want to ensure that teachers in schools have good qualifications and the capacity to teach”.  Schools can bring in experts to take occasional lessons and many do an excellent job – but full time classroom teachers should have a professional qualification.