MPs call for closure of all secondary BEd courses

12th February 2010 at 00:00

Undergraduate training courses only attract poorly qualified teacher hopefuls and should be shut down, MPs have warned.

The latest Commons schools select committee report calls for the closure of all secondary BEd courses.

"We think a three-year undergraduate degree is no longer appropriate for those wanting to teach children in secondary schools; they must be specialists in a subject," said committee chairman Barry Sheerman.

Secondary BEd courses should go, he said, but primary undergraduate degrees could stay as long as their entry requirements are raised and they are more "rigorous", MPs said.

The report also demands urgent changes to the way staff qualify to work in schools and expresses "concern" at the high numbers of applicants without A-levels or degrees and the "patchy" quality of many courses.

The report also demands an increase in on-the-job training and for courses to be more elite - policies already advocated by the Tories.

Excessive bureaucracy is having a "deadening" effect on teacher training, the report goes on.

Additionally, it criticises the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) for not doing enough to improve professional development. It also says the Government's proposed licence to teach should be a device for "weeding out" the worst teachers and there should be a more "streamlined" process for getting rid of underperformers.

The MPs suggest a "chartered" status for the profession, instead, so teachers are paid according to their level of training, not just experience.

General Teaching Council chief executive Keith Bartley said the committee's comments about the licence to teach meant the Department for Children, Schools and Families needed to provide "more clarity" on the scheme.

"There seems to be a contradiction between the committee's view that the licence to practise proposed by government should be used to weed out poorly performing teachers, and the government's recently stated intentions for the licence," he said.

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, welcomed the committee's call for CPD funding to be ringfenced. School spending on CPD currently ranges from 0.25 per cent to 15 per cent of total budgets.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today