Matthew Peck, a Director of GTP Teachers and an Ex-Supply teacher, is promoting apprentice teachers to challenge the teacher training college monopoly

As the new government is making the education industry less of a 'closed shop’, the question has arisen, who is ‘qualified’ to teach? Where should the authority lie in making that decision?

The previous governments approach was to have state teaching ‘papers’, only grantable by another peer in the industry, in conjunction with a university.

Michael Gove’s announcement last week that teacher training was to move toward being school based, as opposed to university based, is a welcome move in making the training more practical and less  ideological.

With the annual budget for temporary ‘supply teachers’ running at £300 million, logic now suggests an opportunity for double savings from the state coffers, with a possible improvement in educational outcomes as a result.

Schools can now train their own ‘apprentice teachers’, acquired free of charge, from a national central registry (like UCAS), thus shrinking the ‘supply budget’, and then expenditure on tuition fees, and teacher training institutions can be reduced significantly.  The irony is that as teacher training institutions were previously assessed partly on their ‘pass rate’, this reduced rigor in their output. As a result, often those on the ‘supply circuit’ were those who ‘could not otherwise find employment’.  But with the new apprentice system, heads are likely to be more thorough in assessing who passes.

Recent television programmes have shown the quality of potential ‘unqualified’ teachers.  The horror stories put out by the unions of ‘unqualified’ teachers being let loose on our children, raise interesting questions. What is ‘unqualified’?  If Jamie Oliver, or even a chef from a good local restaurant wanted to teach Food Tech to children, they would effectively be banned (unless television cameras are there), as they do not hold government papers saying they can teach.  In top private schools, for decades, ‘unqualified’ teachers (professors, professionals, academic talents), have got the best results in the country for the children attending those schools. Does the public recoil at the idea of their children being taught by these same types of people?

The best people to decide who can teach, are head teachers. But powerful vested interests exist, which live off the vast amount of public money spent on keeping the teaching profession closed.