An educational expert has spoken out against a government decision that permits academies in England to hire unqualified teachers.
Professor Chris Husbands, director of the Institute of Education and the University of London, cited the 2010 White Paper The Importance of Teaching, arguing that "the most important factor in determining the effectiveness of a school system is the quality of its teachers".
Ministers announced last week that academies will be allowed to hire professionals who do not have qualified teacher status, even if they have never taught in a state school before.
Academies differ from traditional state schools because they receive funding directly, as opposed to through a local authority, and have more freedom over areas such as pay, conditions and the curriculum.
The move would see schoolchildren being taught a variety of subjects by unqualified teachers, including science, music, engineering and English.
But the decision was met with outrage from teaching unions who insisted that all children should be taught by qualified professionals.
Professor Husbands said: "There is simply no research evidence at all to suppose that lowering the bar and recruiting significant numbers of unqualified teachers will do anything other than lower standards.
"Teaching is a complex, higher order skill and it depends on high quality training."
A Department for Education spokesman responded by saying that the majority of those teaching will be qualified to do so, with people who do not possess a formal teaching qualification forming a small percentage of the overall number of teachers.
He also claimed that the decision will provide additional flexibility to academies, allowing them to improve faster.
From August 3rd, all new academies will be permitted to recruit teachers without a qualified teacher status, and current academies able to apply for the clause written into their contracts to allow them to do so.
Posted by Tim Colman.