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Damning traditional teaching methods is not the way to attract ex-teachers back to the profession

TLTP Education (The London Teaching Pool) was commenting on a report by Think Tank Civitas, which having analysed 260 Ofsted reports, claimed that "trendy" child-led learning and "jazzy lessons" were preferred to teacher-led classes. It suggested that Ofsted might be penalising teachers for using traditional a teaching style. Civitas claimed that its study, which was based on an analysis of two sets of Ofsted reports of secondary schools, showed clear evidence of bias. The report claimed that more than half of the reports (52%) showed a preference for lessons in which pupils learned independently from teacher instruction, 42% showed a preference for group work and 18% criticised teachers for talking too much. Ofsted says it does not have a preferred teaching style and that it is the responsibility of the classroom teacher to determine how they should teach.

 “We believe from the enquiries that we have received that there are experienced teachers who have left the profession, for whatever reason, who would be interested in returning,” explains TLTP managing director Darryl Mydat. “However, they do have concerns that the teaching methods that have served them and their students well throughout their careers thus far may now be dismissed or frowned upon. Our response to that is that with a shortage of teachers across most subjects, are we really in a position to turn away people with experience because the way they teach may not be currently in vogue?”

The Department of Education acknowledges on its own website that around 10,000 former teachers return to the profession each year, bringing with them valuable skills and experience. However, others statistics suggest that between 40% and 50% of teachers leave the profession within their first five years and that more than 400,000 fully trained teachers under the age of 60 are no longer teaching. This means that almost half of the qualified teachers in the country are not actually teaching. Against this background, Mydat says we need to play up and demonstrate even more that such skills and experience are as valued on the ground as the Department claims it is online.

 “We are not in a situation where we have the luxury of making life difficult for experienced, qualified teachers who want to stay in or return to the profession,” he says.

“There is a shortage already of teachers in core subjects as well as teachers leaving the profession in worrying numbers, citing stress and bureaucracy as the key reasons. We should be doing everything we can to get experience back in our classrooms quickly.”

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