Sixth-formers should host lessons to test suitability for teaching, say MPs

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The Independent Online

Sixth-formers should be encouraged to host lessons in front of other pupils to see whether they are suited to teaching, MPs claim today.

In a report, the Commons Education Select Committee says such a scheme could help to cut drop-out rates on teaching courses by weeding out those who do not take to the career. It also urges the Government to consider offering the brightest teachers sabbaticals to encourage them to stay on in the classroom.

Its report cautions that teacher-wastage rates are a "cause for concern", with only 52 per cent of those on undergraduate courses staying in the job for five years and 57 per cent of those who take postgraduate schemes.

The MPs warn: "Wastage itself may present little cause for concern if more good teachers and fewer weak teachers were recruited in the first place."

As a result, they recommend that both sixth-formers with an interest in teaching and undergraduates on courses should be able to "taste" the profession by taking lessons. "We would envisage extensive availability of 'teaching-taster' sessions for both sixth-formers and undergraduates," the report recommends, adding that the taster session "must feature actual teaching alongside the classroom teachers and not just 'observation' or being a 'teaching assistant'".