Chalk Talk: How old do you have to be to be considered a young teacher?


They say 40 is the new 60 as we get to grips with our new ageing population – and the message seems not to have been lost on the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

There was uproar in a private session at the suggestion that 30 should be the cut-off point to be considered a young teacher. In the end, the move was overturned with union bosses sent back to consider it again. Makes sense – especially when you consider the new pensions arrangements might mean they have to go on teaching until they are 68!

Much of the talk since the Coalition Government took office has been about comparing our education system with the rest of the world. Finland is always one of the countries singled out for us to emulate – it tops international league tables in several key subject areas.

But its eschewing of Ofsted-style inspections and the absence of any league tables has meant it has sometimes not been quoted as the shining example teachers' leaders believe it should be by Education Secretary Michael Gove. Here is one reason that it should be – according to Beth Davies, the new Welsh president of the NUT. "Although the area was covered in snow and minus-23 degrees I didn't see a risk assessment in sight as all the children were allowed out to play," she told the conference in Liverpool at the weekend.

The Department for Education has unveiled plans for 13 more University Technical Colleges – giving 14 to 18-year-olds a high-class vocational education. This brings the total to 45 – more than three times the number set out in the Conservatives' manifesto.

Latest in a long line of sponsors for the programme is Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur, who will deliver a sports-based curriculum at their UTC in north London. Teenagers, form an orderly queue!