I don’t like to come to you with half a story but in this instance I offer the following as a work in progress …
Well, there’s been a bit of a hoo-ha lately about whether unqualified teachers can be appointed to work in schools and/or academies, and in an attempt to gain some clarity around what is and isn’t allowed, I have compiled some information which I believe is relevant.
Caveat 1: This concerns what CAN be done, not what SHOULD be done.
Caveat 2: This is a personal interpretation of the matter, and may not reflect reality. I can only assert that this is a repository for resources that may be of use to anyone interested in who can be employed as a teacher. If more information comes to light, I will of course update the post. Your input is welcomed!
Update 6th Aug: See Exhibit I below for very a useful summary of the distinction between employing someone without QTS, and the freedom to continue to employ them without the need for them to gain QTS.
August 4th: Academies can now appoint teachers without requiring them to gain qualified teacher status ( See below for the conditions. Existing academies would need to apply for their agreements to be redrafted). The announcement of this was made on 27th July 2012, about two weeks after separate (and apparently unconnected) amended regulations were passed concerning the eligibility of instructors without QTS to carry out teaching duties (see below in Exhibit C). These amended regulations seem to allow any schools, including both academies and maintained schools, to appoint “instructors” to deliver any subject. Previously, schools could do this as a temporary measure but only where no qualified teacher was available. The intention of the legislation is clearly for this to apply to vocational courses, and where special qualifications or experience are required, but the actual wording refers to “any art or skill or in any subject or group of subjects (including any form of vocational training)”. This has led to speculation that any school might therefore be able to use unqualified teachers for their classes, if they wished (or the budget demanded), provided that they were satisfied that the instructors brought appropriate qualifications or experience. The memorandum to the legislation (See E below) notes that: “There was some misunderstanding that the changes would limit schools to appointing industry experts only. This is not the case.”
August 6th update: Helpful guidance from DfE has clarified that although, technically, schools could appoint instructors to carry out teaching duties, they would have to be able to justify what specialist skills that person brought. There is no definition available of what those specialist skills might be – it would be a judgement call for each individual school to make, according to the needs of the subject or class. The amendments (ie to the Instructors regulations) were made “as part of a wider move to give schools more freedoms.”
A DfE announcement of no need for QTS in academies
B The revised funding agreement for academies which allows for non-QTS appointments
C Some responses to the announcement (Geoff Barton, TES, et al)
D Amended regulations concerning employment of instructors to carry out teaching duties (separate legislation from above)
E A memorandum giving background information on the amended regulations about instructors
F STRB Report May 2012
G FAQ about Free Schools and QTS
H Some Questions Answered
I The distinction between appointing unqualified staff, and continuing to employ them with no requirement for them to gain QTS.
Exhibit A: An announcement was made on 27th July 2012 by the DfE that academies (like Free Schools and Studio Schools ) would be able to employ staff without QTS (qualified teacher status) under a revised funding arrangement. The DfE said:
“The Department for Education has today made some minor changes to the model funding agreement to be used by schools in their conversion to Academy status.
From today (ie 27.07.12), head teachers in mainstream and alternative provision academies will be given greater freedom over the teachers they employ – giving them the same advantages as independent schools, Free Schools, Studio Schools and University Technical Colleges.
A Department for Education spokesman said:
“Independent schools and Free Schools can already hire brilliant people who have not got QTS. We are extending this flexibility to all Academies so more schools can hire great linguists, computer scientists, engineers and other specialists who have not worked in state schools before. We expect the vast majority of teachers will continue to have QTS. This additional flexibility will help schools improve faster. No existing teacher contract is affected by this minor change.”
The funding agreements for all new academies – which are essentially contracts between the Secretary of State and the organisation which establishes and runs the school (‘the academy trust’) – will now state that academies can employ teaching staff who they believe to be suitably qualified – without the automatic requirement for them to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Existing academies can request for their funding agreements to be changed to include this new freedom if they wish.
No existing contracts for any teacher in any academy will be affected by this change.
This policy will free up academies to employ professionals – like scientists, engineers, musicians, university professors, and experienced teachers and heads from overseas and the independent sector – who may be extremely well-qualified and are excellent teachers, but do not have QTS status.
As with the independent sector and Free Schools, the vast majority of teachers employed will continue to have QTS, as it will remain the highly-respected professional status for teachers – and one that all teachers training in the state sector must continue to meet.
This new freedom for academies will allow them to bring in professionals who will bring a wealth of knowledge and new skills into our state schools.
Ensuring the highest quality of teaching is paramount to the success of each school. Head teachers know this, which is why we trust them to employ staff that they believe to be well-qualified for the job.
All schools will continue to be held accountable for the quality of teaching through Ofsted inspection and the publication of school performance data.
As with Free Schools, because of their unique and specialist role, SEN Coordinators and designated teachers for looked after children will still be required to have QTS. All teachers in special academies will also still need this qualification.” Read more here.
Exhibit B: The revised (V6) model funding agreement for academies now states:
Teachers and other staff
Clause 18: Subject to clause 19, the Academy Trust shall, in accordance with any guidance which the Secretary of State may issue on the qualifications of teaching and other staff in Academies, employ anyone it deems is suitably qualified or is otherwise eligible under a contract of employment or for services to carry out planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils, delivering lessons to pupils, assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils, and reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils.
Exhibit C: Response by various parties to the announcement was mixed. Some regretted the manner of its announcement as being hidden away amongst Olympic fever at the start of the school summer holidays. Geoff Barton wrote:
“Why we didn’t see this announcement coming? Perhaps it was because this Government’s grandiosely-titled White Paper, The Important of Teaching, talked of the importance of valuing and developing teachers and we believed it; perhaps it was because a decision pertaining to the employment of future teachers in our schools was tucked unexpectedly into the last afternoon of the first full week of most teachers’ summer holidays; perhaps it was that the announcement came on the day when so many of us were gearing up to watch the much-anticipated opening ceremony of the Olympic Games; or perhaps we thought an idea like this one – a change to the people we can employ – might have been aired first as a proposal, or a matter for debate, or something the profession might have been consulted about, even if only fleetingly and superficially. “
A TES Editorial by Michael Shaw included these comments:
“Jaw-dropping, bonkers and peculiarly British. Those were some of the words used to praise the opening to the 2012 Olympics last Friday, with its dancing NHS nurses and sky-diving Queen. However, those adjectives could have also been used to criticise another event that took place in London that day, a suspiciously short time before the ceremony.
The Department for Education’s announcement that it would no longer require academies to employ qualified teachers was certainly jaw-dropping. School staff in England reacted with outrage to the news that their training and expertise was being publicly branded as worthless by the government, and that anyone could walk off the street into a classroom job.”
Others praised the flexibility offered by the new arrangements, and noted that in many schools excellent work was done by some unqualified instructors, and that in other schools some duff teaching was provided by fully qualified staff. Michael Rose, headteacher at Wayland Academy in Watton, said: “Our problem has been, for some years, recruitment within maths, design technology and IT. If we were able to train up skilled individuals to the right level, that would be something potentially positive. But it would need to be the right person. I would consider it, certainly, in areas of shortage.”
Richard Cairns, Headmaster of Brighton College, and quoted by the DfE, said:
“I strongly believe that teachers are born not made and I will actively seek out teachers from all walks of life who have the potential to inspire children. At Brighton College, this year’s Sunday Times Independent School of the Year, we have 39 teachers without formal teaching qualifications, including me!
Some have come straight from university: our History and politics department has three recent graduates, all with Firsts from Oxford or Cambridge and all excellent teachers. Others have come from other careers: an investment analyst, a lawyer, a management consultant, a nuclear physicist and someone from the BBC.
Once teachers are in the school, they have a reduced teaching timetable to allow them to spend time observing other good teachers and are actively mentored. By the end of the year, they are, in our view, better trained than any PGCE student.”
EXHIBIT D: 9th July - The Education (School Teachers) (Qualifications and Specified Work) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2012 removed a condition about the employment of instructors which had meant they could only be taken on temporarily, and if no qualified teacher was available. The change means that, from 1st September 2012, an instructor could now be appointed to carry out “specified work” (ie teaching) even if qualified teachers were available, and that appointments could be longterm.
3.—(1) The Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012 are amended as follows.
(2) In the Schedule (the requirements to be satisfied by persons who are not qualified teachers in order to carry out specified work) omit paragraphs 2(2)(b) (and the “; and” immediately before it), 2(3) and 2(4).
This regulation amends : The Education (Specified Work) (England) Regulations 2012 (9th March 2012)
What is specified work? The legislation defines this as a teaching role, as follows:
5.—(1) Each of the following activities is specified work for the purposes of these Regulations—
(a)planning and preparing lessons and courses for pupils;
(b)delivering lessons to pupils;
(c)assessing the development, progress and attainment of pupils; and
(d)reporting on the development, progress and attainment of pupils.
(2) In paragraph (1)(b) “delivering” includes delivery via distance learning or computer aided techniques.
Extract from: THE REQUIREMENTS TO BE SATISFIED BY PERSONS WHO ARE NOT QUALIFIED TEACHERS IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT SPECIFIED WORK
Instructors with special qualifications or experience
2.—(1) This paragraph applies in the case of a person appointed, or proposed to be appointed, to give instruction in any art or skill or in any subject or group of subjects (including any form of vocational training), where special qualifications or experience or both are required in order to carry out the specified work.
(2) A person mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) may carry out specified work in a school if—
(a)at the time of appointment—
(i)the local authority, in the case of a school which has no delegated budget or a pupil referral unit;
(ii)the governing body acting with the consent of the local authority, in the case of a school which has a delegated budget; or
(iii)the governing body in the case of a special school not maintained by a local authority,
is satisfied as to that person’s qualifications or experience or both; and
(b)no suitable qualified teacher or teacher on the employment based training scheme is available for such appointment or to give such instruction. (this is the bit that is now omitted)
(3) A person appointed pursuant to sub-paragraph (1) and (2) may carry out specified work in a school, subject to sub-paragraph (4), only for such period of time as no suitable qualified teacher or teacher on the employment-based teacher training scheme is available for appointment or to give instruction. (this is now also omitted, meaning that appointments of instructors can be longterm, not temporary arrangements)
EXHIBIT E: The memorandum to the amendment gives more background information, and states that:
2.3 The amendments to the 2012 Regulations will give schools greater freedom to appoint industry experts, who are not qualified teachers, to work as instructors teaching and supporting the teaching of appropriate vocational courses.
Amendments to the 2012 Regulations
7.9 Currently, the provision concerned with instructors, in the 2012 Regulations, permits schools to appoint industry experts (who are not qualified teachers) as instructors, to teach suitable vocational courses, only for as long as a qualified or trainee teacher is unavailable for appointment. This means that schools must always favour a qualified teacher regardless of the nature of the post. It also means that where an instructor is appointed, schools must readvertise the post periodically to check whether a qualified or trainee teacher has become available for appointment.
7.10 In her recent review of vocational education, Professor Alison Wolf found that in some schools the quality of vocational education was suffering because it was often delivered in the absence of qualified professionals who could teach it. Professor Wolf found that many schools misinterpret the current legal provisions and believe it impossible to bring professionals into schools without the supervision of a qualified teacher, which places an additional demand on staff and further increases the risk of vocational education that does not meet the standards that industry requires.
7.11 Professor Wolf recommended that the DfE should clarify and evaluate the rules relating to the teaching of vocational content by qualified professionals who are not qualified teachers. Professor Wolf’s review and the Government’s response can be downloaded from the DfE’s website. (www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/DFE-00031-2011 )
7.12 In response to Professor Wolf’s recommendations, the DfE decided to make it easier for schools to appoint talented industry experts to teach appropriate vocational courses by removing the restrictions that only allow such appointments to be made as a last resort. These particular changes were not introduced when the Regulations were consolidated with effect from April 2012 because the Department was considering how best to implement the recommendation and it was also desirable to consult the profession on these changes.
7.13 In giving schools this freedom, the law will continue to specify that instructors should only be appointed where special qualifications and/or experience are required. In some cases it will still be more appropriate for a qualified teacher to deliver a particular vocational course, but this will ultimately be a decision for schools to make.
7.14 Instructors, in maintained schools and non-maintained special schools, will continue to be paid at the appropriate level of the unqualified teachers’ pay scale. If industry experts aspire to take up a long-term teaching career we anticipate that they will complete a course of initial teacher training, which would enable them to be paid as a qualified teacher.
Amendments to the 2012 Regulations
8.8 The DfE undertook a public consultation on these changes, which commenced on the 26 March 2012 and ended eight weeks later on the 18 May 2012.
8.9 The standard 12 week consultation period was shortened to 8 weeks.
This was because the changes were unlikely to come as a surprise to the public as the Government’s intention to give schools greater autonomy has been made clear and reflected in numerous policy documents. In the light of this, the eight week consultation period allowed sufficient time for interested parties to take an informed view.
8.10 There were 28 responses to the consultation, including formal responses from the main teaching unions and some professional associations. A slight majority of 16 responses supported the proposals, 3 were unsure and 9 did not support the proposals. Concerns were raised that giving schools more freedom to recruit unqualified instructors could undermine the qualified profession and take work away from qualified teachers. Others, however, were supportive and made the point that head teachers are best placed to decide who is most qualified for a particular job. Other responses stressed that schools must strike the right balance between the need for industry expertise and the need for teaching skills.
8.11 There was some misunderstanding that the changes would limit schools to appointing industry experts only. This is not the case. It will be open to schools to appoint a qualified teacher, a teacher on the employment based training scheme or an instructor to be appointed to provide instruction. The Regulations will not specify who schools should recruit as instructors, subject to that person being appointed only where special experience or qualifications or both are required.
8.12 The consultation provided some useful insights into the concerns that some of the profession and unions have around the employment of unqualified teachers to undertake specified work. However, the changes introduced by these amendments will help to clarify the rules relating to the teaching of vocational content. By making it easier for schools to appoint talented industry experts, the changes will allow head teachers, who are in the best position, to make the decision about who is most suitable to teach a particular course, without excessive legal restrictions.”
Exhibit F: STRB May 16th 2012 reported on teachers’ pay across the country and gave recommendations to the DfE. Read their report here.
Exhibit G: Free Schools did not ever need to have qualified teachers, apart from the SENCO and Designated Lead for Looked After Children. See the FAQ:
Who can teach at a Free School?
Innovation, diversity and flexibility are at the heart of the Free Schools policy. In that spirit we will not be setting overly prescriptive requirements in relation to qualifications. Instead we will expect Free School proposers to demonstrate how they intend to guarantee the highest quality of teaching and leadership in their schools. No school will be allowed to proceed unless its proposals for quality teaching are soundly based.
Does this mean that Free Schools can employ unqualified staff?
Free Schools do not have to employ teachers with Qualified Teacher Status (although certain specialist posts will still require QTS). Instead, Free Schools have the freedom to appoint the people they believe are best equipped to deliver their unique educational vision, for example an experienced instructor or lecturer from a further education institution. Ensuring the highest quality of teaching is paramount to the success of each school.
Which specialist posts require Qualified Teacher Status?
Free Schools will be required to employ teachers with QTS for those who fulfil the role of the school’s special educational needs coordinator and those who are the school’s designated lead for Looked After Children. Both roles can be filled by the same person.
Q 1: Is legislative change needed for the Secretary of State to vary the usual requirement for QTS in academies, which are distinct from Free Schools? Why did Free Schools not need staff with QTS if they are state maintained? Answer: “No regulations to do with QTS apply to the funding agreement (FA) to academies, so the model FA can be varied by the Secretary of State. Both academies and free schools, although they are publicly funded, are legally “independent”, and therefore not bound by the regs applying to maintained schools.”
Q 2: Is there a definition of the special (specialist?) qualifications needed by instructors taken on to carry out teaching duties? Answer: No, there isn’t. It is up to the school to justify their need for special qualifications or experience. (With thanks to DfE representative 6/8/12)
EXHIBIT I: Schools can appoint unqualified teachers but should they not be expected to seek QTS? A summary of the position by Laura McInerney, Policy Development Partner.
By confusing ‘having’ and ‘getting’ in their QTS announcement last week, the DfE have caused journalists, the public and (sadly) several teaching groups to mistakenly believe schools can now employ unqualified teachers. They are incorrect. All schools have always been able to employ unqualified teachers, and very many do so. I was first employed as an unqualified; in September, a thousand TeachFirsters will start as unqualifieds; in fact, every September people from all manner of backgrounds start teaching without having qualified teacher status, so anyone uninformedly jumping on the announcement and petitioning that children ‘must only be taught by qualified people’ are about two decades too late.
What the announcement actually did was something else, something much bigger. While previously a primary or secondary teacher did not need to have qualified teacher status in order to be employed, they were required to get it within a fixed time period. What the DfE’s announcement actually did last week was scrap the requirement to get qualified teacher status. EVER.
From September anyone who turns up to teach in a mainstream school – regardless of their background – never needs to have any further training or pass any nationally agreed mark of quality.
Before the announcement, at the very least, people had to get Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Journalists take note: QTS is not a ‘qualification’ and it is not ‘training’. You can be very qualified and even well-trained, but not have QTS. QTS is a status. To get it a teacher must produce a portfolio of evidence proving they know certain things and have met certain standards. QTS does two key things: Firstly, beyond the the act of ‘just teaching’ being a teacher also involves legal responsibilities (e.g. running trips, handling finance), and there are types of technical knowledge – e.g. how key stages fit together, or of assessment frameworks – which are crucial in making decisions about what and how you teach, but which don’t just come with ‘natural teaching ability’. QT status shows you have this knowledge and you have demonstrated it in your practice. There is often a world of difference between what someone knows academically, what they have been trained to do and what they can actually do in a classroom setting. QTS checks to make sure that this bridge is overcome.
Secondly, and most importantly, QTS provides a level-playing field for people coming into the profession at primary or secondary level. It can be gained in many different ways – through placements, on-the-job, in collaboration with a university, or independently – but each route culminates in evidencing the QTS standard. While entrants to the profession might have different qualifications (for example, I don’t have a PGCE, but I do have several Masters), or different past experiences, every single person was checked against the same nationally agreed standards so that once they had QTS they were considered equally qualified to any other teacher. Knowing that regardless of background everyone has demonstrated a minimal level of competence meant that teachers from non-traditional backgrounds were equally treated in the profession and it provided a guarantee of at least minimal competence in the legal and technical requirements of the job.
Every unqualified teacher in the mainstream primary and secondary system is able to get qualified assuming they meet the standards. For teachers in FE or those who outside of the mainstream – e.g. pupil referral units – getting QT status is more tricky. Because of this many FE/PRU teachers are feeling rightly slighted in a debate that sometimes misses the nuances above. Remember, not having QTS does not mean you are not qualified, or not trained. That these teachers have not been supported to get QTS, and now must unfairly defend themselves against the charge of being a bad teacher show that not only must QTS be retained in schools, it should also be expanded into FE/PRUs. Without a QTS requirement teachers are at risk of being divided between the ‘qualifieds’ and ‘unqualifieds’ based on how generous a school feels in supporting their road to QTS. This must not be a choice for schools to make, it should be an absolute expectation that any teacher working in a school will get it, just like we would expect every child to be supported to get their English and Maths GCSE.
Why do we need QTS as a requirement?
Beyond the fact that it provides professional accreditation and a check on minimal competence, certification also demonstrably relates to reductions in teacher turnover, increases in teacher professionalism, improved test scores and higher rates of participation in future CPD. Given also that high-performing school systems across the world are continually raising the bar for entry to the profession – a fact alluded to when the government raised the entry requirements for PGCEs - there also appears to be a relationship between higher requirements for teachers and improvement in the overall school system.
Some Arguments Against Requiring QTS
On the other hand, here are some of the challenges I have heard (and my answers):
1. If someone is an excellent teacher, why should they be required to do QTS? In the 1950s, Dr Joseph Cyr performed life-saving operations throughout the Korean War, often in extremely pressured circumstances. He did not lose one patient. After the war it transpired he had no qualifications; he was memorising procedures from a surgical book on the fly. Should he have been allowed to continue? Unless your answer is yes – and you can explain to me just why that is – this is a non-question.
2. It won’t make any difference, schools will still require QTS anyway because it is best practice.In which case, why make the announcement at all? If it’s best practice, why would you – as the DfE – want anything less? What is the possible reason for legislating for ‘less-than-best-practice’? [And remember, it can’t be recruitment because schools could already recruit anyone they wanted]
3. QTS isn’t very rigorous anyway.So make it more rigorous! I note that the Coalition don’t believe GCSEs are rigorous, but they didn’t abolish them. Making something optional is rarely the route to making it better.
4. Having to get QTS puts off excellent teachers.Why would an excellent teacher – someone who is likely to spend their time motivating others to do well in an examination – be put off by having to put together a portfolio of evidence in order that they can continue in a professional line of work? You have to do this if you want to be a sergeant in the police, if you want to be a nursery nurse, if you want to dye people’s hair. It is not a big ask, but it is an important one.
I will repeat one last time for anyone who hasn’t understood thus far: This announcement does not stop the employment of teachers who do not have QTS. What it says is that primary and secondary teachers who were previously required and perfectly able to get QTS are no longer required to do so. EVER. It is unfair and untenable that people in other parts of the sector are not given the right to get their qualified status. It is downright daft to abolish it across all schools.