Sending teachers to underperforming schools; My thoughts on the National Teaching Service

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Nicky Morgan has announced that a new system of sending ‘elite’ teachers to struggling areas.

Tom Bennett has written about it for the TES.

A few thoughts, having worked in the schools similar to these:

  1. There are ALREADY excellent teachers in these schools. Why aren’t they being used?
  2. The overall performance of a school is an accumulation of lots of teachers’ work. How will one teacher have impact?
  3. The overall performance of a school is generally a reflection of the leadership and management of a school, how will one teacher work with a team that may not have the skills to move the school forward?
  4. The programme relies on schools ‘requesting’ help. This relies on a high level of reflection of the school leadership. This may not be present. Which leadership group is going to say ‘One person will make the difference’ we’ll get a NTS teacher?
  5. What if the outstanding teacher doesn’t want to aspire to a leadership role? Won’t they just be seen as ladder climbers?
  6. How will an excellent teacher make a difference by teaching their subject/class? Does it mean they won’t teach?
  7. They may be an excellent teacher with excellent behaviour management skills but this won’t matter if the school’s systems are weak or non-existent.
  8. How will staff feel having someone arrive who has already been labelled as an ‘elite’ teacher?
  9. How will this one teacher’s impact be evaluated? If they face resistance throughout, what will happen?
  10. This system is based on a huge assumption; an excellent teacher from one school will remain an excellent teacher in another, in particular coastal & coasting schools that have very unique challenges. Someone that has spent their teaching careers thus far in certain types of school and are excellent in that context are going to get a real shock and probably won’t be so excellent.
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