As never before, education policy is being driven by ideology not evidence. Every Government announcement is laden with myths about schools, teachers and our education system.

It’s time to get the facts.

EduFacts aims to challenge Government and media rhetoric by presenting the facts about what’s going on in our schools, our education system and in the teaching profession.

Each EduFacts factsheet presents a series of short factual statements about a topical education issue with the supporting evidence to back them up.

From teachers’ pay to school holidays, from academies to school funding, EduFacts will bring you the facts, not the myths about what’s going on in education.

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  • No education system can be better than the quality of its teachers1. The most successful countries, from the Far East to Scandinavia, are those where teaching has the highest status as a profession; South Korea recruits from their top five per cent of graduates and Finland from the top ten per cent. Both of these countries have demanding initial teacher education programmes, completion of which is required for entry into the profession.
  • The rigorous criteria involved in achieving Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) ensures that teachers possess solid knowledge and understanding of educational values and subject matter, and high standards of planning, monitoring, assessment and class management. QTS represents a formal set of skills, qualities, and professional standards that are recognised as essential aspects of an effective educator.
  • Unqualified teachers may have difficulty coping with pupils with behavioural issues and special educational needs. They may be an expert in their subject specialism but they will lack the classroom experience and pedagogical background needed to maximise children’s learning potential and properly support their educational development.
  • It is impossible to guarantee consistency or quality of teaching unless the merits of QTS are universally recognised. All schools, regardless of their status, should adhere to the same criteria and requirements when appointing teaching staff to ensure that all pupils are afforded the same high standards of instruction.
  • Allowing academies and free schools to hire unqualified teaching staff may lead to a decline in educational standards. Schools need a properly resourced team of qualified teachers and support staff, not lower investment presented as freedom of choice.
  • Unqualified teachers are cheap alternatives to trained and qualified staff. They may be expected to perform the same duties as qualified teachers but they do not receive the same financial remuneration. A recent survey2 reported that over half of all schools in England now use unqualified teachers. DfE figures show that one in ten teachers in free schools is not qualified and almost half of free schools employ at least one unqualified teacher.3Swedish free schools have made profits by reducing the number of qualified teachers they employ. However, that country’s educational standards have subsequently fallen4.
  • The NUT-commissioned YouGov survey of parents’ views on education5shows that the overwhelming majority (89 per cent) do not want their children to attend schools where teachers do not have professional teaching qualifications. Only one per cent of parents felt comfortable with unqualified teachers taking charge of a class. The survey also showed that the vast majority of parents believed that employing unqualified teaching staff in free schools was designed to save money, not improve standards.

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