Primary children being taught by unqualified teachers in free schools

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More than 20 per cent of primary free schools have employed unqualified teachers, a survey suggests.

The Department for Education’s (DfE) research report, ‘Are free schools using innovative approaches’, published this week, shows that 21 per cent of primary free schools have employed unqualified teachers that were not working towards achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

The findings are based on an independent survey of 74 free schools, of which 34 were primary schools.

In total, around a third (32 per cent) of the primary and secondary free schools that responded to the survey reported having hired unqualified teachers at some point.

The reasons the schools gave for not employing qualified teachers included:

‘To plug the shortage of staff with QTS and to provide an alternative route into teaching for highly-qualified people in subject areas’

‘The teacher is an award winning composer and a fellow of the [Royal] College of Music.’

‘Specialist teachers have qualifications in their specialism, and were chosen because in many circumstances they could teach their subject to a higher level than teachers with QTS.’

According to the research report, non-QTS teachers were most likely to teach PE, maths, modern foreign languages, or art and design.

Alongside the report, a further 35 new free school applications have been approved, around half of which are set to open in September 2015.

Of the new free schools that have been approved, 11 are primary schools and five are all-through schools.

Three of the schools will include nursery provision: Floreat Brentford Primary School in Hounslow London, Harrow View Primary School in Harrow, London and the ARK Wembley Primary Academy in Brent, London.

Nicky Morgan, education secretary, said, ‘Thanks to our plan for education more children in England have the opportunity to go to a good or outstanding school than ever before and free schools have been crucial to that change - with more than two-thirds of free schools meeting this high standard.

‘We are giving thousands more parents a choice of high-quality local schools that offer the excellent standard of education that all pupils deserve.

‘I am pleased to see how free schools are collaborating and supporting other nearby schools - and now 35 more of them will help even more young people fulfil their potential.’


  • ARK Atwood Primary Academy’s headteacher Daniel Upfield will be speaking at Nursery World’s Business Summit on 12 November. For more information click here.



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