Failing Leeds school advertises for unqualified maths teachers

A FAILING school in Leeds is advertising for two “unqualified” maths teachers with a minimum of just four GCSEs.

South Leeds Academy
South Leeds Academy

The South Leeds Academy stipulates the right applicant must have a maths GCSE as one of the four, “in order to ensure the highest possible standards of student achievement”.

It would mean a prospective applicant could have fewer GCSEs than they expect the children they are teaching to leave school with, under the Government’s minimum education standards for pupils.

Teaching unions say parents at the school, which has 1,163 children on the roll, will be “absolutely shocked” and blame the coalition’s policy of allowing academies and free schools to recruit unqualified teachers.

The job ad follows a Department for Education warning to the academy, which has been rated inadequate following an Ofsted inspection.

The South Leeds Academy, opened in 2009 and run by a charity, The School Partnership Trust Academies, says a maths degree and previous teaching experience is desirable for the job, which they describe as “key role”, but are not essential.

Colette Jones, principal of the academy, states in the 12-page job pack: “This is a key role for the academy as we move forward... We are now ready to take the next step on our journey to becoming an outstanding academy.”

Earlier this month the academy was issued with a “Warning Letter” from Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools Lord Nash about the “unacceptably low standards of performance of pupils”.

This followed an Ofsted inspection which found “serious weaknesses” over the achievement of pupils and the quality of teaching which was judged “inadequate”.

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Parents will absolutely shocked to think that any child of theirs would be taught by someone with four GCSEs.

“The Government talks continually about standards. Four GCSEs do not measure up to the five A*-C they expect the majority of pupils to be achieving at present.

“It gives a lie to Michael Gove’s claims that his policy is to allow top professionals such as engineers to become teachers and shows it is about teaching on the cheap.

“This travesty is a direct result of the coalition Government’s decision to allow unqualified teachers into our classrooms.

“This policy needs to be reversed before we see any more of this utterly inappropriate employment practice being put into action.”

The School Partnership Trust Academies sponsors a chain of 40 academies including secondary, primary, infant and junior schools and claims “a proven track record of securing transformational change and sustainable school improvement”.

It is headed by Sir Paul Edwards, who has acted as an adviser to the Department for Education on government school and academies.