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Teaching Quality

Part of Opposition Day — [19th Allotted Day] — UNHCR Syrian Refugees Programme – in the House of Commons at 4:08 pm on 29th January 2014.

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Photo of Tristram Hunt Tristram Hunt Shadow Secretary of State for Education 4:08 pm, 29th January 2014

The hon. Lady admits an important point, on which we can agree. We both want to move towards having more qualified teachers. I am glad that we agree on that, and that she will be supporting that part of the motion tabled by her coalition colleagues. Under the Labour Government, teachers working on a permanent basis in the classroom were working towards qualified teacher status. That is the vital difference: we believed in working towards qualified teacher status, whereas this Government believe in deregulation and de-professionalisation.

The first plank in Labour’s schools policy is to focus on standards and not structures. We do not think that the job is done simply because a school has changed its name to that of an academy or a free school. We think that the most important relationship is between a teacher and a pupil, and we would therefore ensure that all teachers in state-funded schools were qualified or working towards qualified teacher status. We currently have a deregulated, downgraded system of professional teaching standards. Shamefully, under this Government, a person needs more qualifications to work as a burger bar manager than to be in charge of the education of our young people. We believe, as the Prime Minister did once and as the Deputy Prime Minister might still do—it is always difficult to tell—that our young people need highly qualified, highly motivated teachers in their classrooms.