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Posted by / 17-Jan-2017 09:05

But the problem of incompetent teachers goes far deeper than a flawed regulatory structure or self-interested unions.For the teaching profession’s implacable refusal to dump its bad apples is rooted in a desire to protect not just poorly performing employees but an entire way of thinking about education itself.Just imagine the outcry if incompetent doctors weren’t struck off but were moved to another hospital, thus exposing yet more patients to dangerous treatment.Pupils may not be exposed to physical threat from useless teachers, but their entire life chances are certainly imperilled by them.It was to lever up teachers’ standards — and also to boost their professional status — that the General Teaching Council was introduced ten years ago with the power to strike incompetent teachers off the register.In fact, all it did was shore up the incompetence in a classic example of professionals sticking together — a sorry record which has led the new Education Secretary, Michael Gove, rightly to disband the Council altogether.

What children feel about themselves has been deemed to be more important than what they know.Conversely, a rotten teacher can blight a pupil for life even in an apparently well-favoured school.The fact that bad teachers are being recycled from one school to another means that other unfortunate children will get a lousy education.That figure is hard to credit — not least because it was only a decade ago that a register of teachers was set up, along the lines of the medical profession, from which a teacher could be ‘struck off ’ and thus prevented from ever teaching again.But even if the precise figure is arguable, the fact that teachers have effectively been unsackable has indeed been a key factor in the desperate decline of British education.

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Bristol University professor Simon Burgess, who has researched the impact of bad teachers on pupil performance, says that if all the poor teachers were replaced by even just average ones achievement per pupil would rise by as much as half a grade.

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