Antony Power
Posted on 17 Dec 2013

Is qualification a necessity to be a teacher?

Western Morning News. As published: 17 December 2013

A topic often sparking debate in relation to academies and free schools is whether these schools need to employ qualified teachers.

Prior to July 2012, all teachers in state schools were supposed to have recognised teaching qualifications.  Following the change in the rules by the Department for Education, the decision about who to employ to teach in academies and free schools, is left to the headteacher. Other state schools must still employ qualified teachers.

This must mean a drop in teaching standards, is the statement that is often made, but is this the case?

A slightly facetious question would be whether a qualified teacher is actually better at teaching science than, say, Brian Cox (of the Infinite Monkey Cage and possibly D:Ream fame)?  Is someone who has spent all their time in College necessarily better at inspiring drama students than someone who has spent years on stage?  

Private independent schools have used non-qualified teachers for many years. Richard Cairns, Head Master of Brighton College, ranked in the top 20 independent schools in the Country believes that teachers are born not made and employs 39 teachers without formal teaching qualifications, including himself.

Those that remain sceptical should keep in mind that academies and free schools are subject to inspection by Ofsted as well as the requirement to publish results. So, whilst only time will tell whether many schools take up the option of using unqualified teachers and the effect this will have, my view is that giving head teachers the freedom to choose means that the people best placed to make the decision now have the right to do so.