Teachers 'should be top academics'

Every secondary school should have teachers who attended elite universities, Lord Adonis said today.









The former schools minister said it was "very difficult" to get pupils, particularly those from poorer areas, into top universities unless their teachers have studied at those institutions too.



Addressing the Independent Academies Association (IAA) conference in central London today, Lord Adonis said: "You need a good mix of teachers, of course, at any successful school, but you cannot be a successful school unless you at least have a certain proportion of your teachers who have themselves come from leading universities in to which you intend to send your best students."



He added that in his experience it is "very very difficult to send students on to top universities unless you have a certain proportion of your teachers who come from those universities themselves.



"Far too many schools, a good proportion in the bottom half of comprehensives, and still quite a few academies have no Oxbridge teachers and very few from leading universities."



Lord Adonis, who served first as schools ministers and then as Transport Secretary under Labour, said he had been taught by a teacher who went to his university, Oxford, who knew how to navigate the process and inspired him.



Teachers who have attended top universities know how admissions work and have good specialist subject knowledge, he said after the conference.



According to the latest official figures, just 40 poor students (those on Free Schools Meals which is a measure of poverty) went to Oxford or Cambridge last year, out of 80,000 who were eligible.



Lord Adonis warned delegates it would not be possible to transform admissions to top universities "unless you can develop a cadre of teachers in your own schools that have that background themselves."



Academies, and other secondaries, should do "whatever it takes" in terms of dealing directly with institutions, or signing up to Teach First.



Teach First is a scheme that trains top graduates from elite universities to teach in challenging secondary schools.



The scheme is recruiting 800 teachers this year, and this will grow to 1,200 by 2013/14, Lord Adonis said, meaning one in ten of all new teachers in secondary schools will be Teach First recruits.









Lord Adonis said there needed to be a "dramatic increase" in the number of academy students going to university, especially elite institutions.



This is the "biggest single development, above all others, that will transform social mobility in this country", he said.



He cited the example of Mossbourne Community Academy in east London which has helped 10 of its students to win Oxbridge places this year, saying there was "no reason" why others cannot do it.



Lord Adonis warned that the academies programme must expand rapidly because there are "still too many under-performing schools."



"We need to see many hundreds more academies and we need to see them over quite a short period of time," he said.



"Time will not wait. Every year that we leave these schools which are seriously under-performing, not delivering the goods, that is another generation of kids who are failed and its another big handicap to social mobility."



Lord Adonis, who was a pioneer of the academies programme under Tony Blair's Labour government, also repeated his calls for every university to sponsor an academy.



"Universities are always by definition the most successful and highest aspiration education institutions in the country," he said.



Speaking afterwards, he added: "The Government needs to be in dialogue with every university about sponsoring an academy and be prepared to help facilitate it."



At the moment a "handful" of institutions, including Nottingham University and University College London (UCL), have agreed to academy sponsorship.



Academies are semi-independent state schools, which receiving funding direct from Government. The programme was established under Mr Blair to transform under-performing secondaries in poor areas.



The new coalition Government extended the programme to allow any primary, secondary or special school in England to apply for the freedoms. There are currently around 400 academies.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes