Lessons delivered by unqualified teachers

21st April 2000 at 01:00

A THIRD of all secondary teachers in Berlin are giving lessons in subjects they are not qualified to teach, according to statistics released by the city's schools authority.

The situation is particularly bad in the Hauptschulen (secondary-modern equivalents), which cater for lower-ability pupils. Half of all teachers of English, 56 per cent of teachers of German and 53 per cent of secondary mathematics teachers have reached only Abitur (school-leaving exam)level in the subjects they teach. In grammar schools, a quarter of staff are teaching subjects in which they did not specialise during training.

Christa Mommert, chair of the Berlin Parents Committee, said the figures had hitherto been "a major secret". They revealed the declining quality of secondary-school teaching, she said.

Headteachers say a freeze on hiring and frequent long-term teacher absences mean that colleagues must fill in as best they can.

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