Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (July 30th 2012) said the news that Education Secretary Michael Gove has allowed ‘Academy’ schools to recruit untrained people to act up in direct teaching roles in the classroom ‘sends a shiver down my spine’ and raises “fresh doubts as to whether local school heads and governors should carry on considering turning themselves into ‘Academies’ and break away from their local education authority.”
“This is frightening news. Properly trained teachers understand that you can’t just stand at the front and bark orders, that you need to engage children in “active” learning where they are doing things that assist with their learning. A well-trained teacher knows how to assess their pupils lesson by lesson, and how to both build on a child’s strengths and tackle their weaknesses.
“Such skills can’t be instantly learned. More importantly, proper training allows others to asses you on how good you really are in the classroom – not just how good you think you are.
“My belief is that Gove sees this as the first step in ‘de-professionalising’ education, to take on what he sees as an ‘educational establishment’ and ultimately to privatise our schools entirely, creating a setting where companies can move into the sector and offer education at “cut price”. This is the classroom equivalent of using G4S for security instead of the police and must be resisted.
“I do know that many local primary schools in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland are now under pressure from Gove’s Department for Education to turn into academies. This news must make them think again and opt to stay with their local authority – an authority committed to proper standards in the classroom.”