Opinion: Editor's view - 'elitist' teaching

Be the first to comment

Making teaching an elitist profession is likely to fall short of the desirable mark.

David Cameron this week attempted to rehabilitate the word 'elitist', with his promises to be brazenly so in reserving teacher training places and extra perks only for those with 2.2 degrees and above from 'good universities'.

Shadow education minister Michael Gove chimed in with pledges that teaching should become 'an unashamedly elitist profession'. In addition, the Conservatives said that maths and science graduates with a 2.1 or a first could get their student loans paid off if they went into teaching.

Of course we all want the best teachers for our children, but the logic behind the Tory proposal seems a little flawed. It assumes that graduates with the highest marks will want to go into teaching just because those with lower marks or from 'second class' universities will be excluded. What is more, it states that this can be achieved without increasing levels of pay, because the higher status will be attractive enough.

The plan also ignores the fact that there is so much more that goes into making a good teacher than academic grades. The best teachers - the ones we all remember - are great communicators. They inspire, and have sometimes indefinable qualities that make them successful at their jobs.

And then there is the quality of teacher training, both at PGCE and in the classroom. Michael Gove may point out that more Eton pupils got 3 As at A-level last year than all those on free school meals, but would the results be that different if the Eton teachers and those in tough inner city schools swapped places? Teaching in a difficult environment is about far more than having a 'good' degree.

blog comments powered by Disqus