Concerns raised over proposals which could see trainee teachers in classrooms after 5 week training course

Scottish Labour slam proposed scheme to “fast-track” teachers into classrooms

CONCERNS have been raised after it emerged that student teachers could be working in Scottish classrooms after a five week fast-track course.

The proposals would potentially see trainee teachers attend a Scottish Summer Institute (SSI) that would be set up to combat rising vacancies after a recommendation was made by education charity Teach First (TF).

TF have already held talks with The Education Secretary and Deputy First Minister John Swinney on the issue.

“Putting people into our classrooms without full professional training is not the solution to our recruitment crisis.” Ian Gray MSP

Freedom of Information (FOI) document’s obtained by The Herald show TF suggested setting up the SSI after meeting with the Deputy First Minister.

However, critics claim the plan could lead to inadequacies in teaching standards as the government look for ways to combat teacher shortages.

Speaking to The Herald, a spokeswoman for Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said: "This does not seem like an equitable system and it may deter graduates from entering the current well-regarded route into teaching.

“The notion of differentiated pay scales is also unlikely to find favour as it would undermine current negotiated pay scales.”

Scottish Labour Education spokesman Ian Gray MSP said professionalism could be watered down by the move.

“Scottish Labour has repeatedly raised concerns regarding Scottish Government plans to dilute the principles of a fully professional, fully trained graduate teaching profession, a fundamental strength of the Scottish school system for generations,” Gray said.

“Putting people into our classrooms without full professional training is not the solution to our recruitment crisis.”

A passage from one of the FOI documents state: “Participants would undertake an intensive Scottish summer school prior to commencing work in a school with a phased introduction to responsibility overseen by an experienced Scottish teacher.”

“Ministers have made clear that we will always maintain the high standard we expect new recruits to attain before they become fully-fledged teachers.” Scottish Government 

A spokesman for Tech First said that standards for any proposed course would have to comply with strict assurances that it was in line with “world class standards” of the Scottish education system.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Ministers have made clear that we will always maintain the high standard we expect new recruits to attain before they become fully-fledged teachers.

“This means that any new route into teaching must be accredited by the GTCS and will require a partnership with a university to maintain academic rigour and ensure programmes are of the highest quality.

“We have committed £1 million from the Scottish Attainment Fund to identify and develop new ways for people to come into teaching, and will shortly be putting a new initiative out to tender designed to attract high quality graduates in priority areas and subjects.”

Picture courtesy of Scottish Government.

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