Chalk Talk: A lesson for Gove - if you want top teachers, look at the evidence

Andreas Schleicher is one of the academics that the Education Secretary Michael Gove most admires. I wonder, therefore, whether he will take heed of some criticism of the Coalition Government's plans to raise the bar for recruitment into the teaching profession.

To recap, Gove is anxious to rule out anyone such as maths whizz Carol Vorderman, who only has a third degree pass, from entering the teaching profession. The Government will refuse to fund their training.

Schleicher is head of education at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which produces the international league tables so often cited by Gove to support his reforms, "The frequently cited claim that the best-performing education systems all recruit their teachers from the top third of graduates – however that is defined – is not supported by evidence," Schleicher intones in a report for the International Summit on the Teaching Profession, which was held last week in the United States under the auspices of its Secretary for Education Arne Duncan.

"Successful reform cannot wait for a new generation of teachers: it requires investment in the present teacher workforce," he adds.

Gove would obviously argue that his reforms rely on a good deal more than restricting entry to the profession to the highest performing graduates.

However, this may just be an issue on which the two men have to agree to differ.

Lancaster University lecturers planning to take part in strike action over attempts to cut their pensions may be excused for having other things on their minds today.

In a newsletter to all staff, the university has warned those who take part in the action that they will have their pension contributions suspended for the days they take action which, in turn, would render them ineligible for death in service benefits on those days.

Martyn Moss, regional official of the University and College Union – which is organising the strike action, said: "We will be warning all members to take extra care as they cross the roads on these days."

From my own days on a National Union of Journalists' picket line several (well, 30!) years ago, I would add this warning: beware the management lackey who attempts to drive his car through the picket line to get into work.

I am sure it will not come to that.

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