Make master's compulsory for teachers, say universities

University trainers urge policymakers to make teaching an 'all master's profession' to boost recruitment, retention and performance

Amy Gibbons


All teachers should be required to study for a relevant master's degree, marking the "biggest step change in quality" for the profession in 50 years, according to university based teacher trainers.

The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) is calling for all teachers to either have, or be working towards, a government-funded master's degree in education or a subject relevant to their classroom work within five years.

It believes this will lead "directly to an improvement in pupil and school performance, and to the recruitment of new teachers and their retention in the profession".

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The organisation is also calling for all teachers in publicly funded school and further education colleges to have qualified teacher status (QTS), as "learners have the right to be taught by properly qualified professionals".

It comes as the UK's political parties are drafting their manifestos in preparation for the general election in December.

UCET said the commitment to making teaching an "all master's qualified profession" would "mark the biggest step change in quality and status since it became an all graduate profession in the 1970s".

James Noble-Rogers, UCET's executive director, said: "We think that it should be a medium-term objective that all teachers either have, or be working towards, a master’s degree.

"The benefits to teachers of undertaking CPD at master’s degree level are well documented. Master’s level CPD, delivered in partnership between schools and higher education institutions, can have a significant impact on teacher confidence; depth of subject and pedagogical knowledge; classroom management skills and retention. 

"An increase in the number of teachers undertaking master’s level CPD would, we believe, lead directly to an improvement in pupil and school performance, and to the recruitment of new teachers and their retention in the profession."

He added: “It is time the political parties reaffirmed and strengthened their commitment to teacher professionalism. It is unacceptable that children in schools and students in colleges of further education can be taught by unqualified and untrained teachers. This has to change.

"It is also essential that all new teachers receive structured early professional development that builds on and complements their initial training. This will make them even better teachers and help to retain them in the profession. Some progress has been made on this. More needs to be done.”  



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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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