Education Secretary Michael Gove has indicated that the Government should only pay to train graduates with a 2.2 degree or higher as teachers .
Implementing such a policy could according to Professor Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson lead to “ big holes” in the number of graduates training to become teachers in maths, physics, chemistry and languages. A quarter of all physic teachers who trained in 2008-9 would not have met the 2.2 target.
The indication is that this policy could create a situation of increasing the short fall of teachers training in the aforementioned subject. An area that is already struggling to fill all the teaching posts available.
Personally, I believe that there are more important factors than just a degree to making a “good or exceptional” teacher. Not least is the ability to enthuse the pupils with the subject and desire to learn.
Lee McIntyre, was a teacher and although I don’t know the grade of degree he holds he left teaching, which he loved, to become an Internet entrepreneur. He is still teaching, but through a different medium and earning a decent wage too.
Most graduate teachers struggle to live in the early years. Unless they are fortunate they will not be able to afford to buy a property until in their late thirties. At present they will find it even more difficult in the UK, with the present mortgage drought.
Teaching in the UK is in the peculiar position of not having a formalised body to represent it, but relies on Union representation to Government. Teachers pay into a form of registration, but this is not a body like theRoyal College of Physicians who will be the collective voice of the profession.
Is this change in policy more to do with saving money or is it to do with raising “standard”? I believe that most 1st class and upper second class honours degree students are destined to find better terms and conditions in commerce and industry than in teaching. Although with the current economic climate it will be interesting to see if more higher degree graduates take the teaching route. This is especially lucrative in the sciences and maths as there are various incentives to encourage graduates to become teachers.
Whatever the future of this policy, education will be on the political agenda for the foreseeable future. Successive Governments will meddle in the education of our children under the remit of making the educational provision of higher quality and teachers more accountable and in the processd create an ever increasing support structure to enable teacher to deliver and test pupils.
So will graduates with higher degrees make an impression on a system that is becoming overburdened with support staff. I doubt it very much unless they are very creative and can inculcate that into the subject for their pupils.