Unqualified teachers are on the National Tutoring Programme

Unqualified teachers are on the National Tutoring Programme

The majority of organisations involved in the government’s National Tutoring Programme don’t use qualified teachers, we have discovered.

Our research looked into the 32 providers on the programme and only six state on their websites that they use teachers to deliver learning.

The scheme, in theory, is sound – children have lagged behind in their work during the first lockdown and need to catch up.

The programme was launched to help them do that, but it is surprising that those delivering the help are not always qualified.

There are sound reasons why qualified professionals should be doing this work.

Firstly, they are properly trained and can provide the correct interventions and set appropriate work for the children.

It is likely that they have already worked with children who have learning difficulties, and therefore have relevant experience.

Some have specialist skills enabling them to work well with these children – and all will be aware of what it takes to help those in a class who are struggling.

One reason these children are behind is because during the first lockdown they were taught by non-qualified teachers – their parents.

To have other non-qualified people try and help them catch up seems peculiar.

And while it might be cheaper, it might not be very effective.

Another issue is that using unqualified tutors or instructors undermines the teaching profession yet again.

Teachers are trained over years, have vast experience and expertise and ought to be the ones helping those who need help.

Classroom assistants who are not qualified teachers can work directly under a professional teacher in a classroom setting, but this is more questionable when it is unsupervised.

To have unqualified assistants working directly under a professional teacher has a role to play, but to have no qualified teacher in a class should not.

I’d like to know whether the programme had looked at using qualified teachers.

Did the government seek to recruit retired teachers as the NHS sought out retired medical professionals during the first lockdown?

Those tendering for the work should have been made to prove that they were only going to use qualified professionals.

The education of our children is far too important to leave to those without the correct qualifications and experience.