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Unqualified doesn't mean second-rate

Is it not time to have a grown-up discussion about unqualified teachers? I joined further education as an unqualified teacher and went on to take a Certificate in Education. The course was interesting but did little to help me teach - lesson and peer observations provided the most insight. An inspirational textbook A Guide to Student-Centred Learning by Donna Brandes and Paul Ginnis also gave me ideas.

Later, as an inspector of work-based learning for England's schools inspectorate Ofsted, I saw some truly great teaching from people who had no training whatsoever. What they did have were excellent communication skills, the ability to engage their students and a passion for, and up-to-date knowledge of, their subject.

Can we at least acknowledge that a degree and a one-year postgraduate certificate in education course does not automatically make a good teacher, and that some unqualified teachers can knock spots off some qualified ones?

Sally Butler, Lostwithiel, Cornwall.

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