30/12/2011 14:21 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Just 17 Teachers Struck Off For Incompetence In 10 Years

Incompetent teachers Rex Features

Only 17 teachers have been struck off for incompetence in the last 10 years, according to newly released figures.

In the last academic year, only one teacher was struck off.

The disclosure comes despite estimates that up to 17,000 teachers in England may not be up to the job.

The figures from Schools Minister Nick Gibb showed that in the period from 2001 to 2011 just 17 of England's 400,000 teachers were struck off for 'professional incompetence'.

The sanction from the General Teaching Council for England prevents failing teachers from applying for another job in education after being asked to leave a school because of poor performance.

The Coalition has proposed overhauling the system by introducing clearer capability procedures for schools, lifting a ban on the number of times teachers can be observed by heads and giving Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, direct powers to bar failing teachers from the profession.

Chris Skidmore, the Conservative MP for Kingswood, who obtained the figures after a Parliamentary question, said: "Most teachers do an exceptional job. But for the profession to get the respect it deserves and for pupils to get the best start in life, it is vital that poor performance is rooted out, not swept under the carpet, like it was under Labour.

"The Coalition government is taking clear action to deal with this issue – by making it easier to remove poorly performing teachers from their posts."

Teachers can be officially barred from the classroom for serious disciplinary and misconduct issues, including criminal convictions. According to figures, some 211 teachers have been struck off for this reason between 2001/2 and 2011/12.

More than three years ago, Keith Bartley, the former GTCE chief executive, estimated that as many as 17,000 of the 500,000 registered teachers were 'substandard'.

According to figures, some 75 competence cases were referred to the body between 2001 and 2009. Of those, around a third of teachers were told to re-train, a quarter were allowed back into the classroom and just under 10 per cent were given a formal reprimand. A further third were suspended or barred altogether.

Ministers also plan to abolish the General Teaching Council for England. Mr Gove said last year he was 'deeply sceptical' of its value.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The UK has many thousands of outstanding teachers."

While the majority of teachers do a brilliant job, have you come across teachers you just don't think are up to the job? Has incompetent teaching affected your child's education?