Recruiting and retaining teachers

Last week I attended a reception with Head teachers and Deputies at Westminster.

One of their issues was difficulty in recruiting and retaining the teaching staff they need for their schools. When I asked why they thought it was sometimes difficult, they gave me a complex answer.

They volunteered that it was not just or even mainly a question of money. They suggested that they wanted teaching to be better thought of, for it to be accepted as a profession.

I explained that all the MPs I listened to on the subject did treat teaching as a profession, and most of us say it is an important and worthwhile occupation. So who exactly is not treating teaching seriously? Why do some teachers feel they are not sufficiently appreciated? Part of the answer according to the teachers seemed to be a new (but I assume limited) cadre of aggressive parents who intervene regularly and challenge the judgements of teachers. For some it is a feeling about social attitudes to school and discipline more widely.All those of us who wish schools well and understand the importance of a good education need to rally behind the many good teachers who seek to uphold good values. There are limits to how much teachers can do to remedy problems at home or to tackle things like obesity. Successful education requires consent and support from parents.

It leads us to ask what is a profession? I think the world has moved on from the rather narrow past when some said there were only two professions, law and medicine. If you look at what set them a bit apart, it was a combination of self regulation, examinations to control entry into the profession and to ensure basic competence and knowledge, sometimes allied to special clothes and positions that generally commanded respect and were different from others. The lawyer in court wears a gown to show his or her academic and legal status. The doctor in hospital may wear a white coat to distinguish himself or herself from others.

There has long been an issue of what distinguishes a profession from a trade or mystery. Many trades also impose requirements to gain knowledge, pass exams, maintain standards and belong to a professional or trade body. Gas heating engineers need substantial knowledge, have substantial safety responsibilities, have to maintain their knowledge as systems and products change and belong to an accreditation body. They are no less professional than lawyers.

Teaching and the clergy are closer to the lawyers in the conventional understanding of professional status. Teachers like lawyers have to attain academic qualifications as well as practical teaching qualifications. They may wear gowns in more traditional schools or on special occasions. They have to maintain standards. The Catholic and Anglican clergy make extensive use of special clothes to single themselves out, and also normally have academic qualifications.

I would be interested in your thoughts on what more can be done to make people realise teaching is a worthwhile and rewarding career.


  1. Mark B
    October 22, 2018

    Good morning

    I cannot offer anything as to what can be done to make teaching a worthwhile career, but I would like to share a short conversation I had recently with a school manager.

    He told me that he helped manage the schools budget, staff pay and other matters. This I believe was once the job of the schools head. One area that he found particularly troublesome was that of pay. The Government increased the schools budget, which was higher that the official rate of inflation, and found that the teachers demanded, as a result, a higher rate of pay. This made it difficult for the school to get things for pupils. I wanted to discuss his budget more but was rudly inteupted.

    Through my taxes I subsidies people with large families. I therefore expect that when these young people go to work that their taxes can be used for my care. Sadly this will not happen as I fall into one of those types that both Labour and the Tories hate.

    1. Beecee
      October 22, 2018

      Because a pay grade system operates for teachers it is not unusual for a school budget increase to be swallowed by wage inflation.

      Movement within a grade is over 6% each year until the grade max is met. An award of say 2% pay rise moves the grade tiers by this amount. Someone moving through the grades gets the 2% on top of the automatic rise.

      Extra responsibility etc will move a teacher onto the next grade up.

      1. Mark B
        October 22, 2018

        Thanks. But that is only after promotion. I am just talking about teachers who stay at the same grade getting well above inflation wage rises. Some 5% or more. This is the State Sector writ large.

  2. Richard1
    October 22, 2018

    Teaching needs to change like other professions, with rewards determined by supply and demand. Schools need much more flexibility to attract and retain good teachers and teachers of subjects in more demand by other professions – STEM subjects in particular. They also need more flexibility to get rid of bad teachers. Even in the private sector this is near impossible. The Labour approach of getting rid of free schools and returning even more power back to the militant and dysfunctional teaching unions will reverse such progress has has undoubtedly been made under Michael Gove’s reforms. No-one with children or grandchildren, or thinks they might have either and cares about their future, should think of voting Labour.

  3. Duncan
    October 22, 2018

    Teachers complain. That’s what teachers do. They complain. They’re public sector workers. They complain.
    They enjoy job for life security. They complain. They enjoy superb salaries. They complain. They retire at 55 years. They complain. They receive a FPS pension. They complain. They enjoy extended maternity and paternity arrangements. They complain. Their entire life is feather bedded and protected. They complain

    Now, back in the real world of the private sector we retire at 65. We get on with it. We don’t enjoy job for life security. We get on with it. We don’t get a FPS pension. We get on with it. If our company fails to make a profit we lose our jobs. We get on with it. We don’t enjoy elevated employment benefits. We get on with it.

    I am sick and tired of listening to whining public sector workers and their unions constantly complaining and pushing for ever greater levels of feather-bedding while MPs roll over like puppies pretending they care

    Governments pander to public sector unions. It’s what you and every government’s done since 1990.

    In the private sector there’s no magic money tree. When the money runs out we’re history. Meanwhile in the public sector, THE PARTY JUST GOES ON AND ON as if nothing’s changed

    Stop financing and pandering to Labour’s client state

  4. Alan Jutson
    October 22, 2018

    The head teacher sets the tone for the whole School.

    Like a leader of anything else, they need to show they are in charge, but have empathy with their own teachers, pupils, and the parents of pupils.

    If you have a good head teacher, you usually have a good school, but a good teacher does not necessarily make the best head.

    In many decades past many heads of school and teachers came from the armed services after having had a wide experience of life and work.

    Perhaps rather too many teachers now come straight from school/university and are then back into the classroom, with no real knowledge of life, and the world in general.

    1. Iain Gill
      October 23, 2018

      Head teacher has remarkably little say over many of the most important decisions. Education authority governors can dictate in top down Stalinist ways. parents often get little or no say.

  5. sm
    October 22, 2018

    A really good teacher will show some understanding of pupils’ learning and social difficulties, but it seems all too often now s/he is expected to act as a substitute social worker. I was a Primary School Governor in a middle-class area for some years in the 90s and some children were starting school with no toilet training or ability to dress/undress themselves, as parents thought it was the teachers’ duty to handle this!

    Society appears to have removed most of the disciplinary powers that schools used to have, and reduced many staff to the status of cattle herders rather than purveyors of education.

  6. oldwulf
    October 22, 2018

    Educate the parents.

  7. Iain Gill
    October 22, 2018

    Given that there are hardly any men doing infant teaching, the obvious sexism in the system which favours females needs fixing.

  8. Dave Andrews
    October 22, 2018

    We need better parents.
    Children from distressed homes are going to be more disruptive at school, making life for the teacher harder.
    There needs to be an attitude in society that values marriage and staying together, resolving difficulties and being faithful. Kids who move in together and have children without considering the seriousness of child-rearing, and then split up, do immense damage to the children.
    If living in sin was frowned upon just as much as racial discrimination, we might get somewhere.

    1. Iain Gill
      October 23, 2018

      Children from extended families which is exclusively hardened criminals should be removed into care. But care system needs to be a lot better.

  9. Peter
    October 22, 2018

    Education has too much input from politicians. Teachers can provide a convenient scapegoat for falling standards and cover for underfunding.

    Too much micromanagement of the classroom teachers job. Too much form filling. This results in an unnecessarily high workload.

  10. Roy Grainger
    October 22, 2018

    From personal experience in London I think it is true that over the last decade a subset of parents with a massive sense of entitlement has emerged who make it difficult for schools teachers. On the other hand striking teachers whose leaders dismiss parents’ complaints about the strike with “We’re not responsible for your childcare” are the other side of that coin. Flexibility in pay and recruitment of teachers as allowed in academies and free schools should help. Also the power to dismiss bad teachers would help – in that they are not organised much like a profession – for example solicitors and doctors can be stopped from practicing by their own trade body.

  11. Caterpillar
    October 22, 2018

    I suspect that it is because teachers feel it is worthwhile that they leave, the conditions prohibit many from doing what is worthwhile. I suggest the following;

    (1) Pupils who misbehave, even minor disruption, be stored outside the classroom to allow others to study, irrespective of the behavioural reasons. (Discipline matters).
    (2) Presume the adult is right and the child is wrong, the power asymmetry us too far one way
    (3) Provide adequate hours for preparation and marking, do not fill spare hours with meetings about Ofsted.
    (4) Match the number of assistants provided to the number of special needs pupils in the class. If this cannot be done integration is not possible.
    (5) Timetable maths and then other STEM first in the day.
    (6) Match teachers to the types of group they prefer (some prefer lower groups, some higher, some more challenging) – don’t expect each teacher to be a master of all.
    (7) Remove phones from students when they enter the classroom, have timetsbked periods for phone checking.
    (8) Support continued teacher subject learning, not pretend CPD on play pedagogy.

  12. Jumeirah
    October 22, 2018

    I sympathise with the plight of school teachers (and police and others in authority)
    because dignity, discipline and respect generally has broken down giving way to the ever increasing RIDICULOUS and fatuous mindset of over the top political correctness. Much of the blame for this would appear to be the result of a previous generation of those in the teaching profession who brought in this ‘new vision’ of theirs (not all of it bad of course) but who would now themselves argue that the new generation of teachers are perhaps taking this too far. Unfortunately The damage had already been done in that the new liberal PC methodology has moved teachers away from ‘discipline’ (which is considered deeply non-PC) to a rather simplistic ‘we are all friends together’ mindset the result of which is an erosion of the professional authority that they once had but no longer have. Whilst parents should always have the right to question what goes on in school they should not be able to ‘control’ what goes on in school as that responsibility should lie with the teachers..Rather than complain perhaps the question that teachers should ask themselves is: WHY are we not given the same level of professional respect that equally academically qualified professionals such as Lawyers & Doctors are given? And the answer may well be that whilst all 3 Disciplines have a code of conduct that they are required to adhere to the Teaching profession has eroded theirs to such and extent that the general public( ‘their clients’) treat them as nothing more than the ‘hired help’. THEY have got to change if they want parity of recognition.

  13. Lifelogic
    October 22, 2018

    What would put me off teaching is the lack of freedom to teach what I wanted to, the endless red tape, the lack of freedom, the unscientific climate alarmist religion and indeed the left wing slant (of the exam syllabus) and of very many of the teachers too. Where is the fun in having to teach exactly what the state tell you to teach, even when it is often totally wrong headed, unscientific and not relevant?

    They also clearly need to pay more to teachers in certain short supply subjects like Maths. Computing and Physics and to pay different pay in different areas (where housing cost can very different). Teachers’ pay is actually not that low when their pensions are included in the calculation. This as we have under Hammond a very unfair pension system hugely biased to benefit the state sector defined benefit schemes. The average state sector additional pension pot can be about 10 times the average in the private sector (this on top of the state pension).

    You are a bit unfair to teachers in comparing them to the clergy and lawyers. Clergy clearly just teach irrational belief systems and other mumbo jumbo. Lawyers have (with politicians) created a hugely complex (and often rather irrational) legal system mainly for the benefit of lawyers. We have far too many lawyers in the UK and far too much litigation. It is generally a wealth destroying industry (other than for lawyers that is). Judgements are often little better than tossing a coin. Often the different levels of judges endlessly contradict themselves and chance judgements several times. We would need about 1/10 of the current numbers of lawyers if the system were organised sensibly and did not encourage damaging litigation.

    Then the 9/10 of them could retain get a productive job instead.

    There is also massive scope for larger classes and better efficiency with IT and videoed lectures and teaching & testing. We had about 44 in our primary school class and worked fine. As there was then good control and generally well behaved students.

  14. Lifelogic
    October 22, 2018

    They are no less professional than lawyers. Not a very high bar!

    The best way to improve schools is to give vouchers to parents that they can top up and then use at the schools they choose to. Real freedom of choice for parents and freedom for the schools to compete for students.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 22, 2018

      Get rid of the virtual state monopoly in education, just as we should do in Health. Freedom of choice and more competition & innovation – not the current take what you are given and shut up mate – as we have now.

  15. Javelin
    October 22, 2018

    Just pointing out that 99% of the Daily Mail and Conservative home want May to go.

    If anybody in the Conservative Party think May can stitch up the public then win an election for at least 15 years they are sadly deluded.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 22, 2018

      Indeed she would do another John Major and give us many terms of even more dire socialism than hers, from Corbyn Mc Donnall and the SNP.

    2. Timaction
      October 22, 2018

      I’m afraid our host is in a party, of which, the majority are lying federalists. It cannot be covered up as Chequers is remaining with no say as a vassal state!
      Toast at the next election!

      1. Lifelogic.
        October 23, 2018

        It seems so.

  16. Javelin
    October 22, 2018

    Theresa May’s new slogan “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for opposition. “

  17. mickc
    October 22, 2018

    A profession is an occupation which, as you say, has self regulation, entry by exam to ensure competence….but also a duty to act in the best interests of the client. In return there was a financial return above the norm, achieved by allowing the profession to shelter it’s members from pure market forces.
    The shelter from pure market forces has been removed, as has self regulation, by Parliament… thereby removing professional independence. Such moves were, of course, strongly resisted by MPs when applied to them and have since been very much watered down.
    The destruction of professional status has led to the current problems for teachers and ambulance chasing by lawyers.
    Professions have been undermined and destroyed; they cannot now be re-created.

    Reply MPs face dismissal and the need fore election every five years. You do not have to pass an exam to be an MP but you do need to win an election.

    1. mickc
      October 23, 2018

      But apparently expense “misdemeanours ” are no longer to be made public….also unlike professionals…

  18. Chris Dark
    October 22, 2018

    Until the leftist agendas are completely removed from the curriculum and world of teaching, you won’t get many people to take up teaching, unless they themselves are rabid leftists eager to continue the mission. Today, teachers are disciplined or sacked for defending male-female marriage, speaking out against (various beliefs ed) or being anti-EU. They honestly don’t stand a chance. Under such circumstances, teaching is something no sensible person would remotely consider as a career.

    1. Timaction
      October 22, 2018

      Political correctness from a leftist agenda to stop free speech has crept in deliberately by Nu Labour in 1997. From then on, all public services and selection processes have been systematically invaded to ensure only pc candidates or minority people get selected. With the Tory Party being more left wing than Nu Labour they’ve done NOTHING to address this cancer and we all know it! Where is English an option on any official forms?

  19. Adam
    October 22, 2018

    Teachers in schools with high standards of performance attract & nurture excellent pupils. They are widely appreciated, well-motivated and enjoy their work, possibly with higher pay too. Pupils greatly value the services they receive, & parents strive hard in supporting their children to gain such places, paying where needed.

    It is the lower standard schools, often in low grade congested urban areas where standards are eroded. Schools should be freer to establish their own ethos, criteria for entry, discipline & methods of operating. Parents & pupils may apply to whichever school suits their preference. Distinctive clothing identifies & teaching qualifications screen staff, yet may add no value where essentials are lacking.

  20. DaveF
    October 22, 2018

    There are going to be a lot of people out of jobs after March next, perhaps retraining for a career in teaching might be the thing?

    1. a-tracy
      October 22, 2018

      Perhaps ex-forces personal could be retrained at the end of their military service into the teaching profession. Especially those that had some leadership responsibilities and cared for others in their team. The mix of recruits between male and female really does need to be rebalanced.

  21. English Pensioner
    October 22, 2018

    I think that teachers themselves are partly to blame for the situation. At one time, teachers dressed smartly and stood out. At the grammar school that I attended they wore their academic gowns and were always addressed as ‘Sir’. They were also respected outside the school in the community as individuals of some importance.

    Last week I saw a party of pupils from a local comprehensive walking to some local event. You couldn’t tell which were pupils and which were teachers!

    I would also observe that the son of an old friend went into teaching, but he has become totally disillusioned. There is no discipline, he is threatened and sworn at by pupils and little is done. Even parents come to the school and abuse teachers. He is now studying hard to obtain the necessary qualifications for a job outside teaching.

    Meanwhile, a local school appears to have appointed the erstwhile Head Teacher as Executive Head Teacher and the is a new Head Teacher. Why? The school remains the same size and nothing else appears to have changed.

    The education system seems to be a law unto itself, dominated by left-wing ideas. A quote from a young lady at out local grammar school studying Civics(?) “We didn’t have any human rights until we joined the EU”.

  22. Stred
    October 22, 2018

    Sorry, the smart makes changes when the script can’t be seen and checked.

  23. agricola
    October 22, 2018

    You are correct in accepting that teaching is a profession. The single factor that dilutes it’s professional status is that in some areas it has become far too political. Teacher training and then teacher practise has become a means of propagating left wing interpretations of how they see the world about them and especially how they interpret history. Just one example. They wish us to feel guilt and responsibility for the slave trade. We were one factor in it. We bought , transported and sold slaves. Never have I heard criticism of the Africans and Arabs who captured and moved slaves to the West African coast. Africa was up to it’s ears in the business. While doing this they omit to mention William Wilberforce who engineered the abolition of slavery as a business for Englishmen. These keepers of the greater good make the fundamental error of bringing 21st century judgements to historical events. I do not hear their judgements of German slavery of eighty years ago or for that matter the modern day slavery that we have imported with our very lax attitude to immigration and some of those who visit this country with their “servants”.

    1. agricola
      October 23, 2018

      Tell me where this is inaccurate.

  24. formula57
    October 22, 2018

    The more that needs to be done is complex but must include:

    – teachers losing their reputation for constant whinging, especially about their lot. (What a tiresome time you must have had at that reception!)

    – a recognition that the disrespect now common arises in good part from the belief that teachers have surrendered in the classroom, no longer leading their students but following, having become their clients rather than their guides.

    – a further recognition that the disrespect flows also from the belief (fueled by Ofsted publicity) that teachers have been content to run “bog standard” comprehensives, game dubious exam systems, and produce far too many badly educated students ill-equipped to face the world of work never mind take their place as useful citizens.

    – repudiation of the Gordon Brown inspired and driven approach that takes the measure of everything but knows the value of nothing and in teaching sees great effort expended on administration and monitoring of doubtful worth and leaves the public puzzled that so much industry still does not prevent failing schools.

  25. Cheshire Girl
    October 22, 2018

    May I suggest that the Government gets out of the way, and lets Teachers teach. There are always new rules and regulations that create masses of paperwork.
    Also, Teachers have no sanctions over disruptive pupils, who are often backed up by their aggressive parents. The days when parents backed the Teacher are long gone, and the Government doesnt help with their talk about ‘disadvantaged pupils’.

    I wouldnt be a Teacher for all the tea in China. So many of them have their health wrecked by the conditions in schools now.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 22, 2018

      Indeed. Freedom to teach, far less government interference and an ability to kick out disruptive pupils is what is required.

  26. Denis Cooper
    October 22, 2018


    While waiting for our highly esteemed and well-beloved Right Honourable Prime Minister Theresa May to treat us to another pack of lies in the House of Commons this afternoon,
    I idly wonder if anybody else is ever going make a distinction between “no deal” just in the narrow sense of leaving the EU without any special or preferential trade deal, defaulting to the terms of the existing WTO trade treaties rather than attempting to conclude any new trade treaty, and “no deal” in the wider sense of no agreement about anything at all.

    Not even a low-level agreement that if Jacques in Calais is a bit suspicious about a certain consignment which has just gone through then he is allowed and encouraged to tip off his oppo Jack in Dover, preferably they should even exchange contact details …

    It doesn’t seem too much to ask that we should be clear about that, but apparently it is too much for the poor over-worked brains of both politicians and journalists.

    1. Hope
      October 22, 2018

      May would rather issue another scare notice to frighten people about leaving. May forgets it is govt policy to leave and any proganda ought to be behind that policy! May is a liar and completely untrustworthy, I am baffled why Tory MPs don’t understand how toxic she is.

      There is no need of any punishment extension as it does not achieve anything other to justify vast sums of our taxes being shipped across to the EU for nothing in return. May will have legal obligations for the bad parts of her capitulation and a political declaration for future trade which has no legal standing! Therefore her deal does not provide certainty to business or the wider community whatsoever! What do her MPs not understand? The Irish border is a scam. No extension or extension to an extension is going to change that position. Nor will it change the EUs mindset to keep the U.K. As avassal state and less competitive to it! No trade deals just a vassal state until we change our minds.

      Get rid of May she is an affront to democracy.

      1. Hope
        October 22, 2018

        JR, kids are taught they have human rights, they even claim to be held captive if prevented from running out the classroom. The govt has diluted the power and discipline of schools to mockery levels. No rules or boundaries can be enforced. Teachers are insulted and assaulted by little kids with no power to prevent it. Your govt left wing rules has created this mess, syndromes of every kind no special schools so ordinary kids can learn without interruption.

        How does your govt explain kids during the war losing parents, extending families, homes, being moved to the country, being genuinely scared by events yet discipline was maintained and children taught? Comprehensive has failed, you all know Grammar schools is the way forward but for political football reasons not acted upon. There also needs to be special schools for unruly children. Contrary May saying they are our neighbour, they are not. We should be able to choose where we live and send children to school to avoid the crap of the world harming our children and quality of life. Your govt experiment drags children down not raise standards up of the low life.

      2. rose
        October 22, 2018

        What has been arranged for Gibraltar and why aren’t we being told? I suspect a high degree of “alignment” to hobble them in the future. What a glorious entrepreneurial future they might have had – as we might have.

  27. JimS
    October 22, 2018

    As a Chartered Engineer I am expected to be able to innovate and in that way advance the profession. A gas heating ‘engineer’ (technician) follows set procedures and schedules, often to ridiculous extremes.

    I suspect many teachers, lawyers and doctors have become technicians of their former professions as they, like the gas heating ‘engineer’, are more and more constrained by rules put in place by politicians who follow neither a trade nor a profession.

    1. Chrisf
      October 22, 2018

      An astute observation, JimS

  28. Anonymous
    October 22, 2018

    A science graduate may find themselves in demand from several types of employment, therefore their wages and conditions have to reflect that.

    There is often aggression and lack of respect from parents especially when a teacher has tried to instil discipline in a class and mutual respect for himself. Kids are big on respect for themselves these days but quite often don’t give it back.

    Selective schools or those in good catchments find that the parents are supportive from the outset and the teachers in these are fulfilled and properly treated as professionals, as all teachers ought to be.

    The difference between a profession and a trade. A profession has a degree level of education for entry to a professional body. Doctors no longer wear gowns and lawyers often wear only suits so this is a less reliable distinction.

    1. Anonymous
      October 22, 2018

      I’m sure that the BBC hasn’t helped. Professionals are often seen to be spoken to like they are dirt, be they doctors, police officers, care workers… I’m sure some viewers then imitate this behaviour.

  29. Atlas
    October 22, 2018


    An Australian lady who I know is just returning to Australia to teach there having taught in a Primary school in London for the last few years. Her reason for going? Why it is a combination of the paper filling in, the time taken out of teaching due to the pupil’s social needs/attitudes and parental responses, and finally the salary.

    She said that teaching in Australia has few of these PC concepts embedded there and that she can do there what she wanted to do – which is to teach, not do social work.

    1. Timaction
      October 22, 2018

      PC is really about stopping free speech and a cop out of the political class to deal with the more difficult problems they have imported without consent. I see this week yet another grooming scandal and convictions whilst the Government sits idly by and does nothing. Where’s our equivalent of the Stephen Lawrence Enquiry to gain an understanding why authorities have turned a blind eye whilst mostly English girls have had the most serious crimes committed on them. Shame on you politicos!

    2. Stred
      October 22, 2018

      I know a Canadian teacher doing the same.

    3. mancunius
      October 22, 2018

      Australian school education has its own problems – one of recruitment standards “In contrast to top-performing countries, Australia draws its teachers largely from the middle third of school leavers. And there is little evidence that this is about to change…some universities are admitting larger numbers of teacher education students with increasingly low Year 12 performances”
      Educational outcomes: “a steady decline in the average performance of Australian 15-year-olds since 2000…” “… the top 10 per cent of our Year 8 students now perform at about the same level in mathematics as the top 50 per cent of students in Singapore, Korea and Chinese Taipei.”
      The ominous new (PISA-driven) call for re-distribution of resources to support lower economic groups, which will remove funding from high-achieving schools in the name of equality: ” to identify as early as possible children who are at risk of falling behind in their learning and to address their individual learning needs.”
      (The Teacher, Aug. 2015, article by the Chief Executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research)

      So your acquaintance might find she is jumping from the frying pan etc…

  30. Andy
    October 22, 2018

    Teachers do need to be paid more. They do a far more important job than MPs and a re paid less.

    But what everyone values at work is autonomy. That was taken from the teaching profession by Michael Gove – who thought he knew best.

    He set a strict and inflexible curriculum – and brought in a raft of other changes which teachers loathe.

    The best thing politicians could do to improve morale in schools is to leave schools alone. You do not know better than them.

    1. Anonymous
      October 22, 2018

      Unfortunately we’ve been slipping down the global league tables in education for decades.

      The first five years of our children’s lives were spent at home learning the three Rs. Lot’s of rote learning and phonetics. We used the local libraries and took them to museums to inculcate a sense of wonderment in them.

      When they arrived at school it was as though they were in a different league and it stayed that way right through to university/med school.

      Many teachers frowned upon the methods we used “too rigid” or “inhibiting free thought” so I don’t automatically trust their judgment.

      1. Anonymous
        October 22, 2018

        Of pay.

        Similar to police. When the option for early retirement is factored in the hourly rate is quite huge.

        It may be that this only applies to people of senior service.

    2. Roy Grainger
      October 22, 2018

      Parents in my area are very happy with Gove’s changes and the local free schools and academies are the most popular. I couldn’t care less if the teaching unions don’t like them.

      1. Richard1
        October 23, 2018

        Absolutely this is the key point

    3. James
      October 22, 2018

      Politicians shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near schools. Several of the fundamental problems that exist nowadays are due to the lousy public schooling that is offered, and the self-serving nonsense that emanates from the teaching unions and mind numbing bureaucratic regulations. For goodness sake introduce vouchers and introduce some competition into the whole system to give parents freedom to choose what is best for their children: they know better than anyone else.

      1. Adam
        October 22, 2018


        Vouchers, competition & freedom would add sensible improvements. Schools, parents & their children should all be free to select the best suited to their potential achievements. Govt should guide in general, not dictate micro detail. Easier hire & fire would raise performance too.

      2. Rien Huizer
        October 22, 2018

        Children must be socialized in order to understand their duties vs their fellow man, be trained with general and/or specific skills with sufficient quality assurance that future employers know what they are hiring. That quality control is a typical role for the State in modern societies under the rule of law. States should try to abstain from indoctrination of course.

    4. Richard1
      October 22, 2018

      All the evidence points to improvements in standards following Govts reforms. The fact that some teachers didn’t like them is not a good argument – based on the demand eg for free schools, it seems parents did. What we need to.imporve schools and therefore the professional esteem of teachers is much more choice and competition for parents. Same as anything else really. No magic.

    5. Lifelogic
      October 22, 2018

      “The best thing politicians could do to improve morale in schools is to leave schools alone. You do not know better than them.”

      Indeed this applies to most areas of life, business, food …..and not just schools.
      But politicians and bureaucrats just love bossing people around, taxing and licensing them. Mrs May in particular is always telling or ordering people, families, landlords and businesses what to do. Even businesses she knows not the first thing about. Probably that is all businesses in May’s case.

      1. GilesB
        October 22, 2018

        The essence of professionalism is not what they are paid or what they wear.

        The essence of professionalism is that individuals are authorised to exercise their own judgement. They earn trust for this role through demonstration of their technical knowledge, effective skills and a character with appropriate integrity and objectivity. As soon as the ‘authorities’ interfere with detailed instructions they eliminate the need for professional judgement and reduce the role to a box-ticking cog and obedient rule-follower in a vast monolith that allows for no flexibility at the point of delivery. And if any professional dares to exercise initiative, the authorities crush them for not following the rules, not back them up for making a reasonable exercise of professional judgement.

        The demise of the professions is perhaps clearest in auditing. The auditors signature on company accounts used to mean that in their opinion the accounts were ‘true and fair’. Perhaps that doesn’t sound much, but it’s what investors need. Today the auditors’ signature means that tens of thousands boxes have been ticked to show compliance with thousands of pages of regulations. But the signature no longer means that the report is ‘true and fair’, which is however exactly what investors want to know.

        After a business career, I have been teaching. But at a university, not a school. I would refuse as a matter of principle to tolerate the authoritarian, indeed fascist, culture in schools. So, for example, I could not with integrity fill out risk assessment forms etc. I’d be happy to use my judgement.

        For professionalism to exist we need to kill the culture of detailed regulations. They cannot exist together.

        When teachers can exercise their professional judgement on the curricula, how subjects are learnt, and how the classroom is led, good people will be attracted back into school teaching as a profession. While the establishment runs teacher training, selection, promotion, and management to produce dumb, unquestioning drones, that’s what we will get in our schools.

        1. Lifelogic
          October 27, 2018


      2. Andy
        October 23, 2018

        And yet you think a small group of politicians who have been proven repeatedly wrong on Brexit know better than the bossesof the banks, car manufacturers, supermarkets, hauliers, pharmaceutical companies ….

        1. Lifelogic.
          October 23, 2018

          Large multinational pretend to like the EU for obvious reasons (the regulation kills smaller competition with daft regulations). Also politically they want to keep on side with the 27 and the EU bureaucrats.

  31. William Long
    October 22, 2018

    I always thought the clergy and the armed services counted as professions along with the law and medicine. There we always divisions, tough. Trollope makes it clear that socially there was a world of difference between an physician who did not, and an apothecary who did, mix his own medicines and barrister was always considered superior to a solicitor.
    A professional generally worked for a fee rather than a salary, though clearly this never applied in the Services and not for a long time in the teaching profession.
    The downgrading in status of teaching (though mere ‘ushers’ never seem to have had much status) probably began with the institution of universal state education, but has certainly gathered pace with the total trade unionisation of state sector (and many independent sector) teachers and their hi-jacking by the left. The way for teachers to regain status is for them actually once again to behave like professional people and no longer like the worst sort of Nationalised Industry work force.

    1. Lifelogic.
      October 23, 2018

      Well they are a Nationalised Industry work force! In a dire virtual state monopoly.

  32. forthurst
    October 22, 2018

    The state schools in my area have adopted the Trans Inclusion Schools Toolkit which explains how children who identify with a different ‘gender’ to their sex are able to access girls changing rooms and partake in girls sports. In the first place, in the context of biology, sex and gender are synonymous and in the second, therefore, the concept that individuals can identify as a belonging to a ‘gender’ (up to 73) in complete disregard of their biological status is pure Cultural Marxism and following the lawful normalisation of homosexual marriage is a continuation of the assault on the nuclear family as the bedrock of Western Civilisation and its replacement, by children becoming the laboratory creatures of the state whose belief systems are implanted in them by so-called teachers who have now exchanged their roles as mentors to those of experimenters; naturally the Tory Party is fully in favour of this as they are not conservative in any meaning of the word; in fact the only difference between the Tories and Labour is that the former regard banksterism as an honourable profession rather than as a criminal activity.

  33. Phil Gilbert
    October 22, 2018

    Although the teachers themselves claim that money is not the issue, this misses the point that it is a major indication of the value which we place on their services. If their pay was similar to that of other, equally important, professions they would feel greater self respect and would perhaps carry greater authority with parents. It would certainly help with the recruitment and retention of high quality graduates in the profession.
    On several management courses I attended during my working life I was told that people are not motivated by money. I always thought that this was wrong, Bonuses and wage rises were the way in which my company signalled that it was pleased with my performance in a more telling way than mere words. Also how many of us would continue with our jobs if we had private means.

    1. Rien Huizer
      October 22, 2018

      Maybe the problem is that the majority of teachers get to work with students who are not eligible or cannot afford private tuition. A sort of bargain basement feeling?

    2. Lifelogic.
      October 23, 2018

      “people are not motivated by money” – well some certainly are and some are not so much. But good managers tend to try to motivate using as little money as possible. It is rather more profitable that way if you can do it!

  34. Tad Davison
    October 22, 2018

    I left school many decades ago and I presume much has changed in the meantime, but apart from a handful of teachers for whom I have the greatest respect, for they knew how to communicate and thereby educate, I wouldn’t pay the rest in washers! Further, they should never have been allowed anywhere near kids.

    These days, as an onlooker, and taking note of the level of attainment of the kids I come into contact with, I am appalled. Someone said of our education system that ‘it is a mile wide and about half-an-inch deep’. The lack of even the most basic knowledge counts as a travesty and a failing on the part of the establishment. An entire generation has been let down and left to languish in mediocrity.

    It seems that rather than raising the bar, politicians and educationalists have lowered it for the sake of expediency. When I hear Churchill described as ‘some bloke from the war’, or phrases such as, ‘the EU is a good thing because we get free roaming charges on our mobile phones’, I know our education system has gone desperately wrong somewhere.

    I cringe when I hear some of the things even university students come out with. They almost sound the same. It’s as if they have been brainwashed to repeat the tired old PC nonsense parrot-fashion. And were I an employer, I would be on my guard the very moment an applicant told me they were a university graduate, making me dig very deeply into their character and background to ensure I’d got the right person for the job.

    The success or failure of an education system begins with a good classroom environment and teachers who can engage their pupils. That means respect is essential, but it doesn’t mean the kind of cruelty I witnessed. Teachers have told me privately how bound they are with PC protocol and that the enjoyment has gone out of teaching through being unable to administer discipline. Yet there are successful models elsewhere that can and do achieve results, so it’s always a mystery to me why best practise cannot be used right across the entire system, and to hell with anything that holds us back.

    We need to get away from endless meaningless degrees that plunge people into heaps of debt with a false promise, and produce the workers, tradesmen, nurses, and wealth-creators of the future. Nor do we need airy-fairy projects that produce yet more wannabies or rap artists. It’s better by far to give these kids a proper grounding early on with emphasis on a relevant core curriculum, which is why I believe the three Rs solidly taught, gives kids the tools for greater advancement thereafter – a spacious conduit through which the information that is all around us can flow. This is but a concise reflection but we ignore these things at our ultimate peril.

    Tad Davison


  35. Coram Deo
    October 22, 2018

    Is it any wonder respect for teachers is at a low ebb!
    Teachers are supposed to teach not indoctrinate – especially LGBT, transgender, gender-fluid, same-sex ‘marriage’, global warming, safe sex pornography and ‘all religions are equal’ propaganda.
    Not to mention the attempt to initiate the Named Person scheme in Scotland. Many teachers today are social justice warriors purveying government policy rather than teaching children how to evaluate facts and think for themselves.
    There is also an autism epidemic which is seldom reported. Classrooms now have many, many more SEN in their midst. There is little or no special care for them. They are expected to integrate when it is impossible for them to do so. Hence the national mental health crisis in children. Hence parent frustration and the breakdown of teacher/parent relationships.
    When children are taught according to their ability, and taught facts not propaganda, and teaching the Bible is restored to schools – children will be allowed to be children again, and teachers permitted to teach.
    At the moment, government is an enemy of the people and it is destroying the lives of our children.

  36. John E
    October 22, 2018

    No one mentioned the OFSTED inspections yet?
    Then there’s the constant ignorant meddling and macho tough posturing by politicians who think they know all the answers without any relevant experience or need to listen to any actual teachers. It must be in the water in Westminster. The culture there certainly infects the rest of us.
    And the resultant constant curriculum changes so that teachers are currently part way through teaching A Level courses where the course content isn’t fixed and the goalposts are still moving.
    And the obsession with targets. Those of us who were fortunate to have an education that was focussed on learning and development first and exam results second were very fortunate.

  37. mancunius
    October 22, 2018

    The main strain seems to be in inner-city areas, where teachers find it near impossible to impose even minimal discipline, let alone communicate and teach.
    How much longer are politicians going to pretend to ‘seek the reasons’ for this? They are obvious to everyone else.

  38. Brigham
    October 22, 2018

    I had thought that restoring corporal punishment would help education. The fear of it, made me pay attention, but in this day and age, that wouldn’t be tolerated, so I think that if education was not compulsory, the classroom disturbers would not be there. The ones that want to learn would be undisturbed, and that would make for a better teaching environment, which would make it worthwhile for teachers.

    1. Al
      October 23, 2018

      The other problem is that the standardised curriculum fails outliers in both directions: the slower children who can’t keep up but also the gifted. It is possible for a gifted child to complete the entire curriculum goals in the first six weeks of the year, as happened in a local case. The most disruptive children in a class can be the bored and intelligent, and in those cases hitting them won’t help because the teacher is already punishing them every day just by teaching.

      Smaller classes would help, but that means more teachers and probably lower pay because of budgets which would cause problems.

  39. David Cooper
    October 22, 2018

    How about somehow making children, and indeed their parents, accept that they attend school for the purpose of learning and being taught? (The list of “and not for…” would fill a page.) If a potential teacher was given some hope of respect and indeed obedience for discharging a role that mandatory education has made necessary, that might help.

    As far as professions generally are concerned, one key element is that true professionals will always treat their personal interests as secondary to those of their clients, patients etc: no recommending a course of action that is lucrative/expedient for the professional if it is not appropriate to the needs of the client/patient.

    1. Lifelogic.
      October 23, 2018

      “true professionals will always treat their personal interests as secondary to those of their clients”

      Not many lawyers are included then!

  40. They Work for Us?
    October 22, 2018

    I taught Chemistry at A and O level for 5 yrs at a public boarding school and for a further 5 yrs in a large c0mprehesensive as Head of Dept before leaving teaching for the the private sector.
    At the public boarding school there were no discipline problems, after all it was their parent’s money they would be wasting if they were asked to leave. Teachers were treated as professionals, not micromanaged or used as pairs of hands.

    At the Comprehensive school maybe 75% wanted to learn, leaving 25% to be contained to minimise the effect of their behaviour on the rest of the pupils. There were few effective discipinary sanctions compounded some times by parents from a generation that has rarely heard the word “No” or that has been made to do something they did not want to do. Some teachers spent very much more time being “Social Workers” than they spent trying to teach their subject, this was rarely appreciated by the pupils. One of the main tasks each year was deciding which staff might possibly cope with the more unruly and ill motivated groups. Often I took them myself.

    As a start a simple Catch 22 would help “You will send your children to school but no school is obliged to take on your children if you will not cooperate with the schools’ rules. Expulsion will mean that you and you alone will be responsible for finding a school prepared to take them on”.

  41. Iain Gill
    October 22, 2018

    The real way to solve this problem is to abolish national pay & conditions bargaining.

    In the cheaper parts of the country teachers are getting very good money, in the expensive parts of the country its very poor money. Rather than the state trying to micromanage this, or keeping on with one size fits all, then delegate pay & conditions to individual head teachers (not education authorities).

    Alongside giving parents proper buying power in the relationship with schools this would transform the sector, forcing it to be a lot more responsive, constantly optimise, and innovate.

    1. Caterpillar
      October 22, 2018

      Iain Hill,

      Short run and long run should not be muddled. Cheaper parts of country are associated with lower GVA per capita, education (as well as infrastructure) are the approaches to change this. Dropping teacher salaries in these areas will not help, it will exacerbate success to the successful (often growing from resource endowments).

  42. Rien Huizer
    October 22, 2018

    Mr Redwood, A simple solution is to label all roles that require some vocational qualification (be it a licensed electrician, a lawyer or a brain surgeon) the same, professionals. There is less difference in attainment anyway and given that few people need brains surgeons than car mechanics (let alone clergy), why not give the tradies the first choice. Maybe it is the English language. The german word “Beruf” (and mind those anglo-saxon roots, they are germanic) applies to people with blue collars, white collars and gowns. Teahcher o not wear gowns in most countries, by the way. Only university professors when they dress up for occasions where status is made visible. And of course the Protestant clergy and various roles in court (judges, prosecutors and attorneys) wear gowns routinely.

    And wrt to the teaching problem: offer the same pay and working comsitions to state school teaching staff as their colleages working in private teaching environments.

    The interesting thing is that the English people do not use a distinct word for “you” when they address someone with respect, politeness or signaling higher status. The Germans do: Sie (formal) and Du (highly informal, only among good fiends and relatives). So does French. Where did the English language lose such an important indicator of status?

  43. Chris
    October 22, 2018

    Just a few ideas:
    Get rid of the Marxist influence in the teacher training establishments and the schools.

    Set and enforce discipline standards so that teachers can get on and teach.

    Get rid of the mind numbing bureaucracy. Free up staff from endless form filling.

    Revisit the whole issue of human rights in schools with the focus on the child. The focus should be more on how you enable well qualified teachers to deliver a high standard of education (without fear of being sued).

    Revisit Health and Safety with regard to its stifling effect (often due to overzealous interpretation by schools/local authorities themselves) on the students’ education. You cannot eliminate risk entirely, and learning the lessons of life include facing up to risk and learning how to deal with it. You do no favours to students by disallowing activities/sports that have elements of risk in them. Apply common sense and balance instead in all assessments with regard to suitability of activities etc.

    1. Iago
      October 22, 2018

      Very good ideas, but the first is impossible until the state gets out of education completely; let all schools be private. The left have been penetrating all the institutions for many decades in order to wreck them. Education they were determined to overturn and, unfortunately, as early as the war the left were able to infiltrate the Army Education Corps (I may have got the title slightly wrong) and influence the election result in 1945. Colonel Wigg, the Labour MP, became a colonel that way.

    2. Lifelogic.
      October 23, 2018

      Spot on.

    October 22, 2018

    Genuinely, I do not know what MPs in The House today meant about bad things being said to, or about, by person(s) via, whatever means.
    Person to person? Via a newspaper article? In a street demonstration?
    Who was/were the person(s)? What did he/she/they say and to whom (Find the plural yourself …whoms?)

  45. Steve
    October 22, 2018

    Chris wrote:

    “Get rid of the Marxist influence in the teacher training establishments and the schools.”

    And therein lies the source of the problem. A politically correct and subversive education system indoctrinating the youth with even more political correctness.

    It’s all coming out now….the extent to which all publicly funded establishments have been infested by left wing detritus, everything from local councils to the government itself, the whole lot.

    It all needs a damn good disinfecting, along with left wing views and practices being made a criminal offence.

  46. Steve
    October 22, 2018

    Off topic;

    I read from the news today that some MP’s are rallying to complain about what they see as unacceptable comments concerning the PM.

    They say the comments are disrespectful and offensive.

    Now I’ll add my two pence worth: what I find thoroughly disrespectful is having a quisling government doing it’s best to overturn my enshrined right to democratic will, and bending over backwards to capitulate my sovereign subject status to a foreign power ! I not only feel my PM is humiliating my country, but that she is also causing gross offence and insult by her actions.

    Oh but wait a minute…. I forgot we’re not allowed to dislike or get cross.

    Can you bloody believe it ? in a democracy if you dislike someone it’s classed as a hate crime.

    On the bright side, MP’s are allegedly accusing each other of violating political correctness. How sweet, hoisting each other with their own petards.

  47. Den
    October 22, 2018

    I, as an ex-Grammar School educated person, remember just how difficult it was to keep up with the flow of information I received each day AND the homework I had to complete, while my young friends were out playing football or fishing down in the Bay. I also realised, at that early age, just why there was an entry selection scheme. It was a test to ensure we pupils could keep up with the set curriculum. With extra work I managed but I could imagine the despair of those that could not. And I realised the entrance exam was set to assess such capabilities. There was not one pupil in the five years I spent there who actually dropped out (Unlike University) and that was down to the Professionalism of our teachers. In those dear days we were taught the basics like Reading, Writing and Arithmetic which expounded into English Language and Literature and Maths. Plus Latin. I believe that today that the ‘progressive’ methodology now practised in State schools is a far cry from that provide to us young folk AND it is inferior. I also believe that in my school days politics was never a subject discussed outside of History but that today there appears to be a well-planned indoctrination of schoolchildren by forces administered by the EU built into their daily curriculum. Such methodology reminds etc ed some 40 years ago. I trust the British public and its Teaching Profession today will never allow a repeat of that terrible calamity in this country.

  48. Chris
    October 22, 2018

    Thank you, Mr Redwood, for your impassioned pleas in the H of C today with regard to Brexit.

    1. Chris
      October 22, 2018
  49. am
    October 22, 2018

    You spoke admirably well in the commons and with genuine feeling. However I do feel that if nothing happens with the 1922 meeting on Weds nothing will.

  50. Monza 71
    October 22, 2018

    While it is true that Teachers qualifications bear some eco parison to those of Lawyers and the Clergy, there is one important difference : Obviously lawyers and the Clergy are interacting almost exclusively with adults.

    The lack of effective sanctions has resulted in an almost total breakdown in discipline among certain groups of pupils and the hapless staff are just as likely to face similar abuse and threats from parents whose attitude was just as bad as their offspring when they were at school.

    Is it surprising that many dissolutioned teachers leave their chosen career after a few years ?

  51. Colin Hart
    October 23, 2018

    Free up the whole system. Give parents educational vouchers they can spend where they choose. Over time state-owned and state-managed schools with wither and die as non-state providers set up schools people want to send their children to and which teachers want to work in. At the same time do something about Ofsted. We needed some sort of inspectorate to right the wrongs of the 60’s and 70’s but in its current form and with its current mission it has had its day. Teachers now have to spend too much of their time writing up reports, preparing for and making everything look good for Ofsted.
    Think again about whether it is essential for teachers to have to have a teaching qualification.

  52. Colin Hart
    October 23, 2018

    How many professionals join trade unions?

  53. hans christian ivers
    October 23, 2018

    Great and valuable debate. thank you

  54. Kevin Lohse
    October 23, 2018

    I remember the first teacher’s strike. That was the point when teaching ceased to be a profession and became a trade in the minds of the public.

  55. The PrangWizard
    October 23, 2018

    Politics and political correctness be removed from schools, and if teachers wish to enhance their status and reputations and be regarded as professional they should leave all of this and their personal politics at home. At teaching level they should then have their authority respected and discipline and order re-established; they should be backed up in their decisions and not have each one at risk of being questioned and undermined. It is clearly impossible to please everyone and every minority interest and we should stop pretending and posturing that it is.

  56. Bryan Harris
    October 23, 2018

    The perception of teachers has changed, mainly because so many see them responsible for indoctrinating kids with socialism, rather than teaching them how to know, how to study.

    For teachers, as a profession, to be respected, we have to remove the political element from schools, and that includes all the politically correct garbage that is imposed by busybody inspectors.

    So let’s start with school inspectors – Give them hard lessons in common sense – Then re-educate teachers so that they stop imposing socialism at every level.

  57. margaret
    October 23, 2018

    The 2 dinosaur professions law and medicine are now wrongly classed. Nurses who study to gain their experience and knowledge for 30 or more years continually update themselves, regulate themselves and have peer review.There is no such thing as we trained for so and so years. It is a life long profession with life long learning. There is a professional body to maintain standards and protect the public and they are fully responsible for any decision they make or action they take.They are accountable to the public.I am not sure that teaching reaches these standards. I am also a qualified teacher but couldn’t get a job and believe me, the responsibility I have as a Nurse far exceeds that of a teacher.
    Standards in teaching are falling.Some young teachers give up as children threaten staff with violence and parents join in. Others give up as OFSTED try to impose standards which require too much paper work thereby requiring the assistants to do all the teaching. Courses to update teachers are taught by people who know less than the teachers.

    Still a good teacher can set a child on the road to success for life and those are really appreciated.A bad teacher can spoil a child’s future. Many of us remember the good teachers and the bad teachers. The subjects which we took to and could handle easily often depended on the teacher and not the individual ability.

  58. Lindsay McDougall
    October 24, 2018

    Pay them more and get rid of the bad ones. Works every time.

  59. Ron Olden
    October 24, 2018

    When I was at Primary School, teaching used to be respected as Profession.

    But the whole thing fell apart during the 1970s when the job was taken over by (unprofessional people? ed).

    Anyone who goes on strike, or threatens to go on strike, forfeits the title of ‘professional’. forthwith.

    It is entirely right that parents challenge the ‘judgements’ of teachers. In 2011 Ofsted reported that 17,600 teachers, teaching in schools were ‘inadequate’.

    Teachers are providing a service for parents for which they are paid. Parents have a duty to their children to protest if the teacher is no good.

  60. Happymischief56
    October 24, 2018

    A long note, for which I must apologise.
    I have for some years considered retraining as a teacher, with a view particularly of teaching mathematics and science, subjects in which I have much experience and knowledge.
    To explain [please skip this bit if you wish and just jump to the next paragraph!] , in my working life I have been a junior officer in the Royal Navy, a credit analyst and later a lending manager in domestic and international banking (latterly in the City of London), a systems assistant in the oil and gas sector, and most recently a physical scientist, working mainly in the geosciences, with a particular emphasis on landscape management and flooding. Much of my research is very mathematical and also requires frequent use of computers for simulation modelling, statistical and related data analysis and retrieval, and the presentation and communication of results to the scientific community and the wider public (the latter including giving interviews to the press, on radio and on national broadcast television) I have also worked frequently with local community groups, to help them solve their flooding problems, and have taught and helped supervise students. I have loved the subject matter, and I have loved teaching it and communicating it, whether the listener has been just 4 years old or 94 years old. Besides my naval and banking qualifications, and the many years of experiencenin various sectors, I also hold a BSc(hons), a master’s degree and a PhD.
    I have discussed with friends and others I know whether I might do tuition or teaching work (I am not 60, but wish to continue working until I am 70 or so), and if there is a way to fast track the basic training process or if I have to do the full teaching training. The consensus (from the teachers) has been that I must do the latter, and that I will be unable to teach unless I ‘go through the mill’. Also, a couple of the tuition agencies I have approached have said they cannot employ me unless I have a proper teaching qualification.
    In addition, various people (teachers, or ones who know teachers) have said the work load is completely crazy and the administrative load is such that the teaching that does occur is happening in spite of the system, not because of it.
    Given the above, and after further advice and a lot of thought, I have firmly decided NOT to be a teacher. I am however resorting to doing a little private tuition work, mainly in mathematics and science. This is in some way satisfactory but I cannot but help think that there must be many others such as me, with a wealth of life experience and knowledge which they would be happy to impart, and yet who are supremely put off from doing so by the system and all that is entailed trying to get into it, let alone actually trying to teach anything.
    Until this problem, amongst others, is solved, I suspect we are going to struggle, and in likelihood slip further and further down the international performance tables, much to the detriment of both the economy and the young generation whom we wish to help into the most useful and fulfilling path of their lives.

  61. Roy Grainger
    October 26, 2018

    One interesting thing is how there seems to be universal agreement amongst politicians that we need to “save the High Street”. I wonder how much effort and money will be wasted on this policy before it becomes clear that the High Street is dead forever because technology has provided people with a way of shopping which they prefer.

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