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Licence to teach: DCSF to close academies loophole

Ministers have pledged to close the loophole, revealed by The TES last week, that would have exempted teachers in some academies from the Government's controversial new licence to teach.

Writing in The TES today, Ed Balls, Schools Secretary, said: "My starting point is clear. Teachers and heads in all state schools, including all those in academies, will be required to renew actively their licence every five years."

To gain a licence, teachers will have to show their skills, knowledge and training are up to date.

But because the scheme is based on General Teaching Council registration, from which some academies are exempt, the Department for Children, Schools and Families said last week they would escape the licence.

The news angered some teachers' unions, who were already warning the scheme could amount to a "bully's charter" for rogue heads.

The department says it may have to change academy funding agreements or even legislate to ensure all academy teachers have to qualify.

The Government said in September 2005 that all future academies would have to have GTC-registered teachers. By then, 27 of the state-funded semi-independent schools were already open.

The licence will be introduced in September next year, starting with newly qualified teachers and returners to teaching, then supply teachers and the rest of the workforce.

Ed Balls, page 37.

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