Teachers face the sack in 5-year licence plan

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Teachers will face MOT-style checks every five years as part of a drive to improve classroom standards.

All newly qualified teachers will be given a licence to teach from next September and will face the prospect of being struck off and sacked if they fail their check-ups.

The licence scheme will be expanded to cover every teacher in the country over the next few years. The move was announced as part of Schools Secretary Ed Balls' long-awaited White Paper on education published yesterday.

Mr Balls made it clear that he expected some teachers to have their licences revoked as a result of their assessments.

"It may be that we discover there are some teachers who won't be re- licensed," he said. "If, in the end, there are teachers who move from school to school because they aren't succeeding and this is covering up inadequacy then that's something we should address."

The plan was immediately attacked by Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, who said: "There are no shortages of accountability measures against which teachers are judged – from initial teacher training, through their induction year and Ofsted inspections."

The Conservatives immediately said they would not support the plan as it was "yet another huge bureaucratic measure that will cost a fortune and cause all sorts of problems".

However, Chris Keates, general secretary of the rival National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "Professions such as medicine and law already have licences to practise. These enhance their professional standing."

The main thrust of the 103-page document gives both teachers and parents a guaranteed series of rights they can expect from schools.

They include the right – for a pupil – to quality teaching, one-to-one tuition for children struggling to keep up in maths and English, access to at least five hours of sport or PE a week and even the right to be taught in a healthy school.

For parents, it will guarantee access to a personal tutor to discuss their child's education in secondary schools and their child's teacher in primaries.

In addition, they will be guarantees the school operates a fair admissions procedure.

In exchange, parents will have to abide by home-school agreements ensuring their child's good behaviour and could face court action over unruly behaviour or even prison if they fail to pay fines.

Mr Balls said: "We're for the first time setting out in a way no other government has done before a statutory entitlement for every child and every parent."

However, John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, argued: "This is a sledgehammer solution to crack a nut. The parent guarantee in the White Paper will potentially open up even more grounds for vexatious complaints."

Yesterday's White Paper also paves the way for the introduction of school report cards, already in use in New York, which will give all schools a grading from A to F.

The Parent's Guarantee

* The right to a fair admissions procedure.

* A named personal tutor to talk to about their child's secondary schooling.

* Their views on their child's school to be included on new school report cards.

The Pupil's Guarantee

* Relevant and challenging learning in all subjects.

* All secondary school pupils will have a personal tutor.

* One-to-one tuition for those struggling in maths and English at primary school.

* Access to five hours of sport or PE a week.

* The right to be taught in a healthy school.

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