Untrained teachers' wider role 'alarming'
The Government is eyeing more roles for unregistered teachers in schools across the country.
Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Minister John Banks yesterday released details of new "charter schools" - rebranded as "partnership schools" - to be opened in 2014.
The new schools will get some Government funding and be "sponsored" by private "entities".
They will be free to set curriculum, school hours and term dates, which will have to be licensed by the Crown.
Parata confirmed it would be possible for unregistered teachers to teach in the new partnership schools, subject to a police check.
But she told Fairfax they could also be employed to teach in existing state schools.
"We already have these challenges in trades academies because we have builders who can build but aren't qualified teachers and we're wanting more and more of that kind of real-world skill to be available to kids in the secondary to tertiary transition," she said.
"It's not an issue that's been raised by the Partnership [Schools] model, it's an issue that we are already getting to grips with in order that our trades academies, for instance, can be well staffed."
A review of the Teachers Council, started last month, would "come to a more consistent response" on how more unregistered teachers could be appropriately employed in schools.
Parata agreed some potential teachers with practical skills did not always have the skills to work with children.
"But nor does being registered to be a teacher predispose that either . . . You can absolutely get a degree and a post-graduate qualification and do teacher training and still not be that good at delivering learning for kids."
The Government did not agree that "there is only one recipe that will lead to student outcomes", she said.
Lester Flockton, senior research fellow at Otago University's Educational Assessment Research Unit, called her comments "alarming".
"It's a bit rich really saying that we can have these people come in and do this when she's been harking on ad nauseam about quality teaching," he said. "We're getting very muddled messages and muddled thinking going on."
Qualified teachers not well-disposed to teaching would usually leave the profession naturally, he said. The "exacting standards" of the Teachers Council were essential to quality.
Labour's education spokeswoman, Nanaia Mahuta, said allowing unregistered teachers into classrooms was a disgrace. “You wouldn't let an untrained doctor treat your child, or let just anyone design your house. So why do John Banks and Hekia Parata think it is OK to have untrained teachers in front of children in our schools' classrooms?"
- © Fairfax NZ News
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