Schools 'should act as lone businesses'

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The Independent Online

Schools should be free to employ unqualified teachers, train their own staff and sell their land and buildings to raise money, says a report today.

Schools should be free to employ unqualified teachers, train their own staff and sell their land and buildings to raise money, says a report today.

They should be given the right to set salaries locally and appoint their own governors to break the "restrictive practices" in education, according to Sean Williams, a former adviser to John Major. His report, published by the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies, contains many of the proposals outlined by William Hague in a policy speech this month. But Mr Williams goes further, saying deregulation should extend to all areas of schools' work.

His report points to the "restrictive practices" of national pay scales and controls governing the pay of teachers who return to the classroom after leaving the profession.

He said: "Teachers cannot be employed in state schools who do not have qualified- teacher status, even if they have been successfully teaching in the private sector for decades. These restrictive practices should be terminated. An inflow of people who have not been through teacher training college would reinvigorate the teaching profession. Opening the doors to the closed shop would be as beneficial in education as in other sectors."

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Mrs Thatcher introduced the requirement for all teachers in state schools to be professionally qualified. Mr Williams is proposing a step back into the past which is not to the advantage of children and it is children who matter most, not Mr Williams' ideological foolishnesses."

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