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Daily View: Tory teaching plans

Clare Spencer | 08:53 UK time, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

David Cameron with school studentsDavid Cameron announced that the Conservatives would be "brazenly elitist" when recruiting teachers. Commentators consider the merits of Tory education policies.

Steve Richards in the Independent argues that the cultural shift to attract high-achieving teachers will cost more money than the government has:

"Cameron seeks some worthwhile ends but also plans an emergency budget after the election in which the spending axe will fall. If I were a new Maths teacher I would worry that this does not quite add up."

Iain Martin in the Wall Street Journal says being more selective in teacher recruitment will lead to larger class sizes, which isn't necessarily a bad thing:

"But are the Tories prepared to really bite the bullet and explain to parents what, in the end, this means? It means accepting bigger classes and explaining to parents that an obsession with lower class sizes (which holds in Britain and beyond) is actually counterproductive."

The Daily Mail editorial predicts David Cameron will come against opposition to "elite" teachers from the teaching unions:

"His fine words will be worthless if they're not matched by a ruthless determination to face the unions down."

In the Guardian Francis Gilbert dismisses Mr Cameron's proposed bar on people with poor degrees becoming teachers:

"Having been a teacher in various comprehensives for 20 years now, I know better than to judge teachers by the quality of their degree. I have seen too many graduates with first-class degrees die in the classroom: they've been chewed up by the demands of the job, enraged that their pearls of wisdom have been so rudely dismissed in a deluge of chatter and misbehaviour."

Economics blogger Tim Worstall says asking for higher qualifications from teachers is a silly move:

"The private school system is where those without teaching qualifications (post grad degrees in education etc) can find jobs as teachers. The private school system seems to have better results."

Politics blogger Iain Dale reckons this could be a significant policy:

"This may not appear to be the biggest political issue of our time, but if the next government gets teacher training right, it could have a lasting effect on the quality of education for the next generation of children."

On Radio 4's PM programme, ex-school inspector Peter Harding suggests what he would change in the teaching profession instead:

"You take away many of the pressures which teachers are put under today. Teachers are under huge pressures from targets, from league tables, from the pressure of Ofsted, from the pressure of being inspected in the classroom so regularly. I think teachers need to be allowed to get on and teach."

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And finally, Paul Waugh in the Evening Standard lists the famous people with thirds who wouldn't be allowed to be teachers under the plans:

"Unfortunately, a quick bit of research shows that Carol Vorderman - Mr Cameron's prized Maths Taskforce chief - didn't do all that well when she studied engineering at Cambridge. She got a third class degree."

Links in full

IndependentIndependent | The Conservatives have learned their lesson
IndependentSteve Richards | Independent | Do the Tories get top marks? Not yet...
TelegraphTelegraph | It is time to restore the status of teachers
MailDaily Mail | Mr Cameron's battle for 'brazen elitism'
GuardianFrancis Gilbert | Guardian | Don't judge teachers by their degrees
GuardianFiona Millar | Guardian | Tory teaching plans rooted in snobbery
SpectatorDavid Blackburn | Spectator | At last, a "brazenly elitist" approach
Wall Street JournalIain Martin | Wall Street Journal | Accept Bigger Class Sizes
see alsoPaul Waugh | Evening Standard | Vorderman barred by the Tories
see alsoTim Worstall | Lordy, lordy
Creative ToryShane | Creative Tory | Why has 'elite' become such a dirty word?
Iain DaleIain Dale | Iain Dale's Diary | Teacher Training: When Elitism Is Good

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