On Tuesday I noted how the Michael Gove reforms have made it much easier for incompetent teachers to be sacked.
Between 2001 and 2010 the General Teaching Council had only struck off 18 of England’s 400,000 teachers – and if they were on the GTC register they were officially considered competent to teach – regardless of what the reality might be.
There is now a decentralised arrangement where the employers (such as academy trusts or local councils) have the power and responsibility to make such decisions, rather than just sheltering behind the feeble verdict of the GTC (which no longer exists). This means that we can’t compare figures but it is generally accepted that the teaching standards demanded have become more rigorous.
However, in Wales these reforms have not taken place. Only eight teachers have been struck off by The General Teaching Council for Wales for incompetence in the last ten years. (I was told this in response to a Freedom of Information request.)
Six of these teachers were struck off purely for incompetence. A couple more were struck off for both “unacceptable professional conduct” and “serious professional incompetence.” So eight is putting the figure at it highest.
That tally is made up of one so far this year, four for 2012-13, one for 2010-11, one for 2009/10 and one for 2007/08. The figure for the other years is nil. There are 26,000 teachers in Wales.
The recent PISA tests showed Wales had a score of 468 for maths. This was against a score for England of 495 (the OECD average is 494.) These were tests for 15-year-olds taken last year. The gap between England and Wales has widened slightly since 2009 – when England scored 493 and Wales scored 472.
For reading, England’s score increased slightly from 495 to 500. In Wales there was a smaller increase – from 476 to 480 – so remaining well behind.
For science, England increased its score, but just one point from 515 to 516. Wales actually fell to 491 from 496.
Wales has no free schools. It has no academies. A Bristol University study in 2010 concluded that abolition of league tables in Wales in 2000 had damaged results. There has recently been some restoration of league tables in an emaciated form. There is some very limited information with schools put in bands. That is really pathetic compared to the level of school transparency that English parents have available when making choices. Why can’t Welsh parents be trusted in the same way?
Last week my Conservative Home colleague Peter Hoskin wrote(£) in The Times:
Dylan Thomas advised us to rage against the dying of the light. Not even a new reactor will save Welsh lights from dying — there ought to be more rage about that.
Quite so. Just as we all have an interest in the United Kingdom not being broken into pieces, we all have an interest in British children being given the best possible education. We should all be concerned by the terrible betrayal of Welsh children by the Labour-run Welsh Government.