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Teaching Quality

Part of Opposition Day — [19th Allotted Day] — UNHCR Syrian Refugees Programme – in the House of Commons at 5:11 pm on 29th January 2014.

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Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Chair, Education Committee 5:11 pm, 29th January 2014

I thank the Secretary of State. The point, if the shadow Secretary of State will listen, is that the evidence is anecdotal. To bring in such a change, if one believes in evidence-based policy making, the hon. Gentleman should do the work first, gather the evidence and make sure he is doing the right thing before outlawing these teachers.

Over the past 48 hours, I have asked any number of experts what studies have been conducted into the quality of QTS teachers as opposed to non-QTS teachers. I have spoken to the Education Committee Clerk to see whether the Committee is aware of any studies, to academic experts such as Alan Smithers at the university of Buckingham, an adviser to my Committee, to the Institute of Education and to Ofsted, but none could identify any empirical surveys in this area.

I turned, then, to the teaching profession itself and contacted the principals of several academies in Hull to hear about their experiences. I spoke to people such as Dr Cathy Taylor, the head of the Sirius academy, who told me that her school employed five teachers without QTS out of a total teaching strength of about 87. Those five include excellent teachers in art and maths, both of whom are completing their teaching qualifications, Members will be delighted to hear, but they also include specialists in ICT and salon services. The Sirius academy has a strong professional development programme, and Dr Taylor was clear that she would never employ more non-QTS staff than could be properly mentored within the school.

I also spoke to Andy Grace, the principal of the Boulevard academy. He does not employ non-QTS teachers on permanent contracts, but the academy employs peripatetic, non-QTS staff to provide expert tuition in fields such as sport, art and music, helping to stretch able students.