NASUWT survey shows widespread use of unqualified staff in schools to teach children

Tim Lezard

NASUWT placardUnqualified staff are being widely employed as teachers, a survey by the NASUWT has found.

Well over half of the teachers (59%) who responded to the online survey said that unqualified staff are employed as teachers in their school, not only to cover lessons, but to perform a variety of roles that require the skills and talents of a teacher, including:

·        preparing students for external examinations (51%);

·        developing the curriculum (45%); and

·        reporting on learning (65%).

Almost three-quarters of teachers (72%) believe that the situation is getting worse because schools cannot or will not pay for qualified teachers.

The survey of nearly 2,300 teachers found that:

  • 97% of unqualified staff hired by schools teach lessons;
  • nearly six out of ten teachers (59%) of teachers report the use of unqualified staff in their schools and of those teachers who reported this, 85% said they were used regularly;
  • the vast majority of unqualified staff (77%) are not on programmes to gain qualified teacher status (QTS);
  • nearly three quarters (74%) of unqualified staff are required to plan and prepare lessons;
  • over two thirds (69%) have responsibility for assessing and monitoring pupils’ progress;
  • over half (51%) prepare pupils for Key Stage tests and external examinations;
  • 89% of teachers said that unqualified staff in their school are employed on a permanent basis.

The figures were released as representatives at the NASUWT’s Annual Conference in Bournemouth prepared to debate a motion rejecting the removal of the requirement for schools in England to employ qualified teachers.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The extent of the Secretary of State’s decision to remove the entitlement of children and young people to be taught by a qualified teacher can now be seen.

“Parents and the public should be deeply concerned at the results of this survey. Now when a parent sends their child to school they have no idea who is teaching them. Unqualified staff who are not being given the appropriate training, support and remuneration for their responsibilities are also being exploited.

“The purpose of the change the Coalition has made is nothing to do with raising standards. This is part of the wider strategy to depress costs to encourage more private providers to take over schools. If any suggestion was made that unqualified doctors were let loose on patients there would be public outrage.

“Why should our children and young people, the future of this country, be treated with any less concern?”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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