Raising the bar in teaching

Entry requirements for teacher training in England are too low and damage the status of the profession, the Commons education select committee has said.

The MPs said graduates applying for post-graduate certificate of education (PGCE) courses should have at least a lower second at degree level.

The cross-party Commons education select committee said: “It is essential that there is in place a robust mechanism for ensuring that entrants to the teaching profession have a sound grasp of literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.

“It is clear that the Training and Development Agency's skills tests are not at present providing a sufficiently high hurdle in this regard. We recommend that the tests be made an entry requirement for initial teacher training, rather than an exit requirement, with a maximum of just two attempts at each test permitted.”

Its Training of Teachers report said: "Having examined the level of entry qualifications that trainees bring to both under- and post-graduate initial teacher training programmes, we are clear that the bar must be raised across the board. It is of great concern to us that those with no A-levels, or those with just a pass degree can gain entry to the teaching profession.

“The entry qualifications for undergraduate programmes for those wanting to train to be secondary teachers are particularly low. We recommend that funding for these programmes be discontinued.”

Regarding the ongoing development of teachers, the report said: “We envisage a system in which teachers would be provisionally registered to teach until they met the core professional standards, when they would be fully registered.

“In order to move to the post-threshold pay scale, teachers would be required to gain Chartered Teacher Status, which would itself require a masters-level qualification in education as well as demonstration of competence against the post-threshold professional standards.

“Demonstration of competence against subsequent professional standards—excellent teacher and advanced skills teacher—would be linked more explicitly to completion of relevant accredited training. A ladder of different career pathways should be put in place.”

Read the full report here.