MPs demand tougher entrance requirements for teachers

By Ian Dunt

David Cameron’s demands that Britain sets a higher bar on those coming into the teaching profession received support from an influential committee of MPs today.

The cross-party group of MPs on the children, schools and families committee said entry-level requirements for teacher training were too low and that “the bar must be raised”.

The finding is very similar to official Tory policy on improving education in England and Wales.

David Cameron called for “brazenly elitist” policy towards recruiting teachers last month.

The Tories proposed that only those earning a 2:2 or above at university would be allowed to enter the profession – the same level recommended by MPs today.

“Only the best professionals with the best qualifications need apply,” Mr Cameron said.

Labour’s Barry Sheerman, chair of the committee, made a similar point this morning.

“Entry requirements should be raised, and there must be better support for teachers once they are in post,” he said.

The committee also recommended that undergraduate programmes for those wanting to be secondary school teachers which attract the poorest qualified candidates should be discontinued.

“Teaching must be seen as an attractive career option for high achieving individuals,” Mr Sheerman said.

The pressure on newly qualified teachers should be reduced, MPs said, and a culture of continuous professional development installed in the education sector.

“A failure to tackle the pressures faced by new teachers risks not only a dearth of teachers from the profession but also lasting damage to the educational experience of pupils,” Mr Sheerman said.

“This must not be allowed to happen.”