Teachers face sack under new classroom licence plan

Teachers will need a licence to enter the classroom and face being banned if they cannot renew it every five years, the Government said yesterday.

The radical move, in a White Paper put before the Commons yesterday, will be widely seen as an attempt to weed out incompetent teachers and to stop bad teachers being shunted from school to school.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, indicated that he expected some teachers to fail their renewal. “It may be that we will discover some teachers who do not make the grade, and some who aren’t relicensed,” he said.

Newly qualified teachers would get a licence to teach from September. All teachers returning to the profession will go through the process from September next year, and supply teachers will be targeted after that. Eventually all teachers will need a licence.

Experts have estimated that more than 20,000 teachers are not fit to do their jobs, with one or two in each school. Heads privately complain that it is virtually impossible to sack poorly performing teachers.

Only ten teachers, out of a workforce of 500,000, have been fired for incompetence since 2001. Teaching unions attacked the plan for licences, saying that teachers already faced numerous accountability measures.

Mr Balls indicated his intentions in the Children’s Plan published in December 2007, in which he called on the General Teaching Council to root out teachers whose “competence falls to unacceptable low levels”.

Under the licence scheme, head teachers would provide written accreditation for teachers every five years, vouching for their ability, and the General Teaching Council would conduct an annual audit of about 5 to 10 per cent of teachers. The licence would go hand in hand with entitlement to professional development so that teachers could keep up with the latest teaching methods and technology.

Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Teachers’ capacity and practice are persistently under review. It is not clear to me that head teachers will welcome an additional responsibility to relicense their teachers every five years.”

The licence was one of several radical reforms announced by Mr Balls in the White Paper. These include report cards, which will grade schools from A to F across a range of measures, including academic performance, children’s wellbeing and parental satisfaction.

Local authorities will also be forced to consult parents about whether they are happy with schools, and set out a plan of action if the results are negative. Parents will have to sign up to the school’s behaviour rules and reiterate this commitment each year. If it is breached, they could face a court imposed parenting order or a fine.

The Times, July 1, 2009.

Read more @ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article6611074.ece

Comments are closed.