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Ofsted Chief attacks Serial Complainers

Moaning teachers are “infantalising the profession” and preventing thousands of highly-qualified graduates entering the classroom, according to the head of Ofsted.

Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested that “serial complainers” within teaching unions were creating a bad impression of the job that damages recruitment levels.

He also warned that it was a “national scandal” that so many teachers abandoned the classroom after just a few years – wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers' money.

In a speech to the North of England Education Conference on Wednesday, he said at least four-in-10 newly qualified teachers fail to last longer than five years.

Sir Michael warned that too many trainees are being allowed to progress into full-time roles despite concerns that they are not "up to it" because of poor quality training.

In many cases, new teachers are unable to deal with pupil indiscipline, manage a room full of children and even dress properly, he said.

But some of Sir Michael’s strongest words were reserved for England’s powerful teaching unions who have resorted to industrial action over issues such as pay, pensions, working hours and the number of times heads observe lessons in recent years.

He said: “Far too many of those who claim to represent the profession endlessly list its problems and ignore its triumphs.

“Of course, teachers have their complaints. Of course, there are grievances. But there is a difference between a professional with a legitimate criticism and a serial complainer with another moan.

“One tends to be listened to; the other does not.

“Those who persist in treating teachers as perpetual victims risk infantilising the profession and depressing recruitment.”

Addressing the conference in Nottingham, Sir Michael announced a new crackdown on teacher training in England.
For the first time from September, inspectors will quiz new teachers to ensure they are getting the right support from heads.

Schools and universities that train staff will be held accountable for new teachers' performance throughout their induction year - even if they move to another institution.

Student teachers currently receive scholarships of up to £25,000 to train.

But Sir Michael admitted that Ofsted had not been as “demanding as it should have been with training providers who have sent newly qualified teachers out into schools unprepared for the rigours of the classroom”.
It is a “national scandal that we invest so much in teacher training and yet an estimated 40 per cent of new entrants leave within five years”, he said.

He added: “How many times have I heard head teachers say ‘we told the [training] provider that this trainee wasn’t up to it and didn’t have the capacity to succeed’, only to find out that this advice had been ignored and that he had progressed into the classroom’?

“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?”

The Telegraph, 21 Jan 2014

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