Inspector laments teaching turnover

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IT IS a “national scandal” that about two-fifths of teachers leave the profession within five years despite massive investment in training, the Ofsted chief inspector has warned.

Many recruits quit the classroom because of misbehaviour as they are inadequately prepared for dealing with unruly pupils, according to Sir Michael Wilshaw.

In a speech to the North of England Education Conference in Nottingham, he suggested teacher training is not up to scratch, with trainees being tutored by individuals who have little up-to-date school experience, sent into the classroom without advice on behaviour or how to dress and left to “flounder” without support from more senior staff.

Ofsted will be reviewing teacher training inspections in a bid to crack down on course providers that are not supporting new recruits, Sir Michael said.

And in what is likely to be seen as an attack on teaching unions, the Ofsted boss used his speech to criticise those who claim to represent teachers but focus more on the profession’s problems than its triumphs.

Individuals who persist in treating teachers as “perpetual victims” risk “infantilising the profession and depressing recruitment”, he claimed.

Sir Michael told the conference that serious questions need to be asked about the current teacher training system. “How many times have heads said to me that their trainees had been tutored by people with little or no up-to-date school experience or a record of outstanding teaching?

“How many times have I heard that trainees have been sent into schools without proper guidance on professional behaviour or dress? How many times have I heard that trainees have been inadequately prepared to deal with poor behaviour?”

He was speaking on the opening day of the conference which runs until tomorrow.