Monday, January 18, 2010

Teach to their own

The Tories say they want to improve the quality of teachers in state schools, and to raise the status of teaching by making it “the new noble profession”.

(The old noble profession, I presume, is medicine. And I guess the oldest noble profession would be high-class prostitution.)

Chris Dillow is sceptical about the efficacy of demanding higher qualifications for teachers.

One way to test this – as well as, presumably, a way to improve underperforming schools – would be to require all private-school teachers to spend parts of their careers working at comps in poorer areas. It’s the same sort of principle as having GPs do work for the NHS as well as running private practices. Then we’d be able to see what effect these super-teachers have.

Another good lark would be requiring private schools to take an entire schoolful (not just a few assisted places) of low-achieving kids from sink estates, just to put paid to the socialist lie that good schools are good mainly because they have a well-heeled intake.

(NB I’m sure all of us can remember some really crappy teachers we had at school. Thing is, I’m not sure the worst ones are necessarily the least academically able. The job requires a wide range of skills, and I’m in awe of people who can do it well. I myself have – ahem – a pretty decent degree, and I’d be a terrible teacher.)

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