Is David Cameron right to pledge ‘ brazen elitism ‘ on teachers?Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 at 2:15 pm
David Cameron, PM in waiting, has elevated education and recruitment to the top of the political agenda . Following research on the education model in Finland (who sit at the top of European academic results) the Tory think tank has concluded that by employing only teachers with a first class honours degree we will dramatically improve our current system.
On first hearing this my immediate reaction was ‘ good on them for wanting to improve standards in education’ but is it as simple as just selecting based on the result of a degree qualification?
Firstly, a first class degree in History or Science does not seek to measure the abilities of a person for the teaching profession. In schools as in business there are many horror stories of teachers both new and experienced who have all the right qualifications but are just not ‘good’ at teaching. It is not as great a sound bite but surely Mr Cameron and his team should be pledging to improve the selection process for teachers so that only the best at teaching get in.
Where is his commitment to benchmarking teachers or creating an elite competency model. Like all jobs in all professions it is a combination of competencies, attitudes and motivations not educational success that identifies the elite from the rest.
Looking at the educational model in Finland there are vast differences from our system, education only starts at age 7, the average age of a university graduate is 28, they do not stream on ability but promote equity and quality. Class sizes are much smaller and the class stays together for all subjects.
Mr Cameron wants to make the ‘Teaching Profession’ more respected by raising standards, but he has overlooked the fact that despite teachers in the UK being paid more than their equivalents in Finland, until the recent economic down turn we were struggling to fill teaching vacancies in the UK. This just goes to confirm what most employers know, paying top dollar and hiring the best educated is not on its own the secret of success.