Make it easier to become a teacher, and fix our education system | James Plumb



There’s been a lot of talk about the education system in recent months. Most of it, centralised around university education and tuition fees; public sector wage caps for teachers, class sizes and the general strain put on workers in the education sector.

Teacher shortages have also proven to be a huge issue. A recent survey from the Department for Education found that classroom teachers and middle leaders work 54.4 hours a week on average. These type of workloads are astronomically challenging for teachers and have contributed significantly to the declining number of teachers available. According to government statistics, the number of full-time teachers in secondary schools fell by 10,000 between 2010 and 2015, with teacher vacancies rising by 26% between June 2016 and 2017. It’s a problem that has long been a head-scratcher for the Conservative government, which is yet to come up with a sustainable solution to the problem. Labour have also thrown uninspiring solutions at the growing problem. Having pledged to commit an extra £25.3bn for education, funded from extra tax revenue, Jeremy Corbyn pledged that schools would be “properly resourced by reversing the Conservatives' cuts and ensuring that all schools have the resources they need".

However, the problem isn’t as simple as throwing money at it. There needs to be people who want to be teachers, so I’m going to propose an idea. There are in fact many people who would willingly apply for positions as teachers. The problem is in becoming a teacher. The vigorous process of attaining a university degree and undertaking years of teacher training, all to the tune of a significant amount of debt, is enough to put most people off a career in education. So why not make it easier to become a teacher. Strip back the red tape and the somewhat unnecessary demand for excessive qualifications. Instead shift the focus onto internal promotion as a way to fill the teacher shortages. Thinking about it in a logical sense, for any other profession, promotion from within is a standard concept. The number of Higher Level Teaching Assistants or even basic first level Teaching Assistants, who would be more than able, let alone willing, to develop as teachers could at least go someway to plugging the shortages. As of June 2016, there were 256,600 full-time teaching assistants in state education. The problem stopping many of them from becoming teachers is the requirement of further education and extensive training. For those with additional responsibilities, is simply not practical, especially with many teaching assistants for whom education is not their first career path. Furthermore, many teaching assistants already in the profession are faced with teaching level challenges on a daily basis, and are more than familiar with the requirements and responsibilities of being a teacher. If not for a few pieces of paper, many of them even would be. Now I’m not suggesting that anyone should become instantly qualified as a teacher; yet it seems ludicrous to ignore that there are many experienced professionals, already in the education system, who understand the burden teachers face and are there for the love of the job. If not for the extensive training process, many of these would contribute significantly to the large void of teachers, currently facing education in the UK.


This solution to the problem would also yield long-term benefits for education. The appeal is not what prevents individuals from pursuing a career in teaching, it is the difficulty in getting there that poses the greatest obstacle.Does the education system need more funding? Yes. However, for the time being there is a blatantly obvious scenario that would help to fix teacher shortages; a scenario that most major political parties seem oblivious to. 


Make it easier to become a teacher, and fix our education system | James Plumb Make it easier to become a teacher, and fix our education system | James Plumb Reviewed by Unknown on 10:47 Rating: 5

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