Rises in unqualified teachers need context

11 April 2014

Yesterday new figures on the number of teachers and other staff at publicly funded schools were released. Labour deplored, among other things, the "50% rise" in the number of unqualified teachers at academies and free schools - a topic we've looked at in depth before.

That rise looks very big - but it's also worth considering that these schools are both increasing in number and employing more teachers anyway.

Looking just at the proportion of teachers who are unqualified at these schools, the rise is somewhat less. 4.3% were unqualified in 2012, and 5.2% were unqualified last year. That's a 21% rise - rather than 50% - between the two years.

It's a rise nonetheless, and the debate over the merits of relaxing the rules on school recruitment back in 2012 will surely continue as a result. But it's worth noting that the rise Labour points out is partly due to there being more schools rather than simply that unqualified teachers are being hired more often.

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