Coffee House

Labour conference: Stephen Twigg to launch New Deal for teachers

4 October 2012

12:01 AM

4 October 2012

12:01 AM

It doesn’t seem entirely fair that Stephen Twigg’s speech has been left to the final day of the Labour conference, when many have packed up and left Manchester already. But today Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary is to announce more reforms to education as part of the party’s new One Nation project.

The idea is to make teaching an ‘elite profession for top graduates’, and Twigg plans to achieve that by offering incentives for high-flyers to work in tough schools such as paying off some of their student debt, funding for teachers to do master’s degrees and a National College for Teaching Excellence to develop new teaching standards.

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The centrepiece of this New Deal for teachers is a doubling in size of the popular and successful Teach First programme to 2,000 placements. The aim is that Teach First, which places graduates in tough schools after six weeks of training, will become one of the main routes into teaching. This is very interesting indeed: only a couple of months ago the teaching unions were furious that Michael Gove had announced academies can now employ unqualified teachers, and here is Twigg, supporting a scheme which disregards the year of university-based training that is currently the norm for teachers and instead uses a summer school before placing as-yet unqualified teachers in the classroom. I understand that Twigg accepts that while there are some excellent university-based courses out there, not all of them are tip-top, and thus the increase in Teach First places would be funded from the existing training budget.

Twigg is an intriguing shadow minister. He often appears pulled in all directions on policies: he is most certainly what Len McCluskey would call a Blairite ‘cuckoo‘, and his instincts are constrained by caution from the party leadership and the unions. He will also announce that he wants to support heads to remove incompetent teachers, which sounds like a policy Michael Gove would wholeheartedly applaud and teaching unions would get a little jumpy about. But he will also make a point of praising the profession (Coffee House readers know better than anyone how upset the unions get when Gove criticises poor performance), saying:

‘We have the best generation of teachers ever. But it can be even better. We will establish a New Deal for Teachers. New rewards, and new entitlements to training. And with the responsibility to improve year on year.’

I suspect that there will be no mention of what Labour will do about GCSEs in the speech, though. Ed Miliband managed to avoid the word entirely on Tuesday, conjuring only the two-tier system that Gove had initially considered. We won’t hear what the party plans to do with exams for 16 year-olds until 2015, yet Miliband and Twigg know they need to talk about education. So expect many more announcements which skirt around secondary exams in an increasingly awkward fashion.

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Show comments
  • Fergus Pickering

    Because they are charities, tel. Do you know what a charity is?

    • telemachus

      Would that be an organisation to recycle bankers bonuses for the occupation of their children?

  • Nicholas

    “We have the best generation of teachers ever.”

    Yeah, right. If your criteria for “best” is brainwashing children with leftist ideology and ensuring education is a bastion of left-wing union activism in perpetual opposition to any form of Toryism – even the kind that improves educational prospects and outcomes. If Labour had less hubris, indulged in less triumphal revisionism and took more responsibility for their many and varied cock-ups we might be able to move on to objective politics. Instead Labour continue to live in a world of Cold War communist-like sloganeering and self-deluding propaganda. But then they are not wholly to blame. We have a media generation that swallows it and then regurgitates it uncritically too.

    • telemachus

      Teachers have apurpose way beyond examinations
      Sadly not enough stayed to hear Stephen’s innovative ideas this morning.
      It is axiomatic that to motivate your workforce you encourage and praise
      Gove could learn a lesson or two

  • HooksLaw

    A flash deal for teachers (and their unions). Nothing actually about education.

  • Harold Angryperson

    ‘We have the best generation of teachers ever.”
    Yet (thanks to lower entry standards) the least qualified?

    • dorothy wilson

      If we have the best generation of teachers ever why have English pupils plummeted down the OECD’s international comparison tables in the past 10 years? Why also has a recent OECD report claimed that, despite the increase in spending on education under Labour, there was no increase in standards?

  • alexsandr

    he’d be better off cutting a swathe through the bollocks paperwork teachers have to do to let them spend more time actually teaching kids.
    and give the box ticking OFSTEAD a kick so they truly investigate failures rather than The useless inspection regime we have now
    No, i am not a teacher!!!

    • Fergus Pickering

      You’re right about the paperwork. Far too much of it. Far too many exams. Far too many silly subjects.

  • Alex Jones

    This ignores evidence that HE route to teaching judged very positively by OFSTED

  • TomTom

    What top-level graduate would want to waste his/her iife in a PFI School dominated by urban delinquency and indiscipline teaching pablum to mobile phone addicts ? These idiots are bonkers – next they will tell us Teachers will be paid like Bankers at RBS to show State spending is not restricted to favoured elites. This is more drivel.
    Who the hell would want to waste their lives in the Hieronymus Bosch World of State Schools ?

  • TomTom

    What top-level graduate would want to waste his/her iife in a PFI School dominated by urban delinquency and indiscipline teaching pablum to mobile phone addicts ? These idiots are bonkers – next they will tell us Teachers will be paid like Bankers at RBS to show State spending is not restricted to favoured elites. This is more drivel.
    Who the hell would want to waste their lives in the Hieronymus Bosch World of State Schools ?

    • monty61

      Notions of civic duty or public service .. giving something back? In pre-Thatcher Tory party this sort of instinct was well understood. Sadly it seems it isn’t any more, the supermarket sweep approach to life – grab all you can as fast as you can – now dominates (see Hunt, Shapps, Mitchell etc).

      • TomTom

        Hilarious ! There are a handful of towns in England where a teacher could afford a mortgage. They used to be paid well pre-war but have been destroyed by low standards of entry and the Government as an employer. It was once a Middle Class Profession now it is a Blue Collar Working Class Trade. It is predominantly female which lowers pay across the board whenever that happens.

        • HooksLaw

          A teachers salary outside London ranges from about 22k to 33k.
          In London it goes up to about 37k.
          Experienced teachers can earn up to £64,000 in London and £56,000 outside London.
          Head teachers can earn over 100k

          An unqualified teacher (unqualified!) earns between about 16k and 25k. Up to 29k in inner london.

          A teacher can earn up to an extra 12k for additional responsibilities. I see an advert for head of department in kent at 45k to 50k

          Back in 2008 the Labour govt was defending an average pay for teachers of 34k.
          Rates are more than comparable to other graduate entry jobs. You talk utter bilge.

          • TomTom

            Those pay scales tend to collide with School Budgets which favour cheaper teachers over experienced teachers, and agency teachers over regular teachers. Many schools have a high churn rate on staff which is why pupils have no consistent teaching or properly qualified specialists. £64,000 in London is not comparable to a City Lawyer or Management Consultant and we are talking of top-flight graduates. The entry salary is far lower than a Police Constable or PCSO

            • TomTom

              PCSO
              Basic salary ranges from £20,874 to £24,015You may be entitled to an additional shift disturbance allowance of
              12.5%, 15% or 20%, depending on your shift patternYou will also receive a location allowance depending on which of our
              two zones you work in. This is currently £3,466 (inner zone) or £1,883
              (outer zone).

            • TomTom

              PCSO
              Basic salary ranges from £20,874 to £24,015You may be entitled to an additional shift disturbance allowance of
              12.5%, 15% or 20%, depending on your shift patternYou will also receive a location allowance depending on which of our
              two zones you work in. This is currently £3,466 (inner zone) or £1,883
              (outer zone).

            • TomTom

              PCSO
              Basic salary ranges from £20,874 to £24,015You may be entitled to an additional shift disturbance allowance of
              12.5%, 15% or 20%, depending on your shift patternYou will also receive a location allowance depending on which of our
              two zones you work in. This is currently £3,466 (inner zone) or £1,883
              (outer zone).

            • TomTom

              PCSO
              Basic salary ranges from £20,874 to £24,015You may be entitled to an additional shift disturbance allowance of
              12.5%, 15% or 20%, depending on your shift patternYou will also receive a location allowance depending on which of our
              two zones you work in. This is currently £3,466 (inner zone) or £1,883
              (outer zone).

            • Fergus Pickering

              Police constables are grossly overpaid.

          • TomTom

            Those pay scales tend to collide with School Budgets which favour cheaper teachers over experienced teachers, and agency teachers over regular teachers. Many schools have a high churn rate on staff which is why pupils have no consistent teaching or properly qualified specialists. £64,000 in London is not comparable to a City Lawyer or Management Consultant and we are talking of top-flight graduates. The entry salary is far lower than a Police Constable or PCSO

          • TomTom

            Those pay scales tend to collide with School Budgets which favour cheaper teachers over experienced teachers, and agency teachers over regular teachers. Many schools have a high churn rate on staff which is why pupils have no consistent teaching or properly qualified specialists. £64,000 in London is not comparable to a City Lawyer or Management Consultant and we are talking of top-flight graduates. The entry salary is far lower than a Police Constable or PCSO

          • TomTom

            Those pay scales tend to collide with School Budgets which favour cheaper teachers over experienced teachers, and agency teachers over regular teachers. Many schools have a high churn rate on staff which is why pupils have no consistent teaching or properly qualified specialists. £64,000 in London is not comparable to a City Lawyer or Management Consultant and we are talking of top-flight graduates. The entry salary is far lower than a Police Constable or PCSO

        • Fergus Pickering

          TomTom. You know nothing about teachers pre-war. They were not well-paid at all. Nor after the war. Labour usually bumps up heir salaries and the Tories depress them again. But teachers’ salaries are irrelevant. People don’t go into the job for the salary but for the security and other reasons of course. It would be nice if the children behaved a little less like wild beasts, but nobody has an answer to that. Unless you do. I suppose my suggestion of cudgelling boys into insensibility isn’t a runner these days. Girls’ equally bad behaviour is down to the drive, laudable no doubt, towards sexual equality. Equality in drunkenness and criminality, don’t you know. My daughters, of course, are not like that. But they were educated in a single sex grammar school.

      • TomTom

        Thatcher despised Teachers and Education. She had no examples in her own family to look to, nor did Major John.

        • HooksLaw

          More ignorance and prejudice. What a load of preposterous rubbish.

          • TomTom

            You are off the wall Trevor

          • TomTom

            You are off the wall Trevor

          • TomTom

            You are off the wall Trevor

          • TomTom

            You are off the wall Trevor

        • 2trueblue

          Thatcher despised the teachers union, don’t get your facts confused. And she was right, they are destructive.

          • telemachus

            Thatcher despised anyone and anything without a platinum credit card

            • Fergus Pickering

              Curious, isn’t it, that she won three elections in a row. There must be more platinum credit card holders than I thought.. But imagine being called names by the young ladies of Somerville. Dearie me. That must give her sleepless nights.

              • telemachus

                Most at Somerville these days are bright young men
                Sadly she had the likes of Foot to fight
                These days are different

    • DavidDP

      I know a graduate with a first from Cambridge who is curently on Teach First in a sink comp. She’s finding it incredibly rewarding trying to inspire a group of deprived children. Plenty more like her.

      • TomTom

        So no problem then. Twigg is wasting his time.

      • TomTom

        So no problem then. Twigg is wasting his time.

      • TomTom

        So no problem then. Twigg is wasting his time.

      • Kyoto

        Unfortunately, I’d label that self-indoctrination. A front presented to the outside world because it would be too painful to admit the truth. Perhaps similar to the way officiers and soldiers dealt with the Western Front.
        My next door neighbour was exactly the same. However, she recently left teaching and once that decision she gave a more truthful evaluation of her time teaching. Indeed she had a mis-carriage and is pretty certain it was in part brought on by the stress of teaching. Stress meaning behavioural management, not paperwork.

    • Dimoto

      Hardman seems a little breathless with all “the new ideas” pouring out of this little drip’s mouth – YET MORE UNAFORDABLE state spending, Yet more tired old Blair era triangulation.

      • telemachus

        This is not Blair
        Blair was as divisive on education as the Monster Gove

    • telemachus

      So what do you want to do?
      Teaching is all about nurturing society social cohesiveness and acting as the conduit to level out our divided nation.
      Getting the stars where they can best help is all important
      Too mant bright teachers disappear into Eton, Rugby and wWestminster and produce Thrasher and Flashman style divisiveness

      • Ruby Duck

        Are you saying that bright teachers produce Thrasher and Flashman style divisiveness ?

      • TomTom

        Total crap. You live in a fantasy world. There are good teachers in State Schools completely destroyed by PC Heads and PC Governors and layers of PC drivel imposed from Whitehall. It was the bonkers idea of merging Child Social Services with Education and requiring ALL Heads in future to have Social Worker qualifications that drove the whole mess off the rails. Education was destroyed by loopy political interference by Public School Charlatans like Anthony Crosland and Shirley Williams and twerps like Edward Short

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