More than half a million state school pupils are being taught by teachers with no formal teaching qualifications amid a “recruitment crisis”, new analysis by the Labour Party has revealed.
According to government data, the number of unqualified teachers has risen by 62% over the past four years, with 24,000 of these educators in classrooms in 2016 compared to 14,800 in 2012.
Labour claims up to 613,000 children are now being taught by unqualified teachers, based on the assumption that an average class is made up of 25.5 children, the the Press Association reported.
Shadow schools minister Mike Kane, who was a teacher for a decade, accused the government of “failing in their most basic of tasks” by “relying on unqualified teachers to plug the gaps”.
Rules were relaxed in 2012 to allow unqualified teachers into classroom in the hopes that it would tempt experts - including scientists, musicians and sportspeople - to become educators.
Kane called the move a “cost-saving exercise”, stating: “Unqualified teachers have no guaranteed training in safeguarding children, controlling a class or adapting teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils.
“But under the Tories, they’re responsible for the education of hundreds of thousands of our children.
“The Tories’ failure on teacher recruitment is putting school standards at risk and it’s our children who will pay for their mess.”
The Labour MP told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning that schools are facing a “massive retention and recruitment crisis”.
“On average, teachers have lost about £13,000 in pay because of the pay cap since 2010 - no wonder we have the crisis we have in our schools,” Kane said.
But a spokesperson for the Department for Education said that the number of teachers overall had risen 3.5% since 2010, while “the proportion of qualified teachers in schools remains high”.
“Nine out of 10 schools are rated good or outstanding and we have record number of teachers in our classrooms - 95% of which hold qualified teacher status,” they said.
“The rest include some trainees working towards their professional qualifications as well as experts, such as leading scientists, sports people or musicians, who headteachers think can add value to individual lessons and enrich the learning experience for children.”