Think tank calls for improvements among teaching staff

Ministers should focus more on improving the existing teaching workforce than on recruiting new teachers to the profession, says the think tank Reform.

They should do away with regulations which prevent schools from improving the quality of teaching themselves, it says, and calls for workforce agreements to be scrapped, with heads given the right to set pay and conditions for staff, and reward those that perform well.

This would make them focus on a better workforce rather than a bigger one, improve performance and strengthen accountability of schools to parents, it says.

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One result of this move would be a drop in the number of teaching assistants, the report says, claiming that research shows they have "a negligible effect on educational outcomes".

The study also claims that many schools ignore much official advice on improving teacher quality and the headteachers' qualification run by the National College is "weak".

The National College should be privatised with schools paying for the courses they want, the think tank adds.