Leading Article: Degrees of teaching

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The Independent Online

This week's inquiry into teacher training by the Skills Commission is right to rejectthe idea that only degree holders make good teachers. Pointing out that schools and colleges are becoming so entwined with the introduction of diplomas and the raising of the education leaving age to 18, it says that we need to attract more teachers with work experience and expertise into the classroom. But we won't be able to do that, it says, unless we recognise that people with good communication skills can make just as effective classroom practitioners as those with top degrees.

The political debate, however, seems to be going in the opposite direction. The Conservatives are planning to prevent all those with degrees below a 2:2 from becoming qualified teachers. Will they now change their minds, or do they believe that it really is vital to have only teachers withgood degrees in the classroom. When the Tories announced this policy, it was pointed out that it would have bared their very own maths tsar Carol Vorderman from becoming a teacher. It will also bar a lot of others.