Sounds pretty good to me

An academy chain set up by the schools minister Lord Nash is allowing his unqualified and unpaid daughter to teach history and help draw up a new curriculum, prompting concerns from parents and a teachers’ union.

Future Academies in Pimlico, central London, was set up by the minister in charge of academies and his wife, Caroline. They both maintain prominent roles in the organisation.

Since September, their daughter Jo Nash has taught four classes between the ages of 10 and 16. She is also advising on a new curriculum to teach history and is involved in the recruitment of staff.

The role of Jo Nash, 32, who has no teaching qualifications but does have a degree in history, has been questioned by teachers and staff.

Since 2012, academy schools have been able to hire unqualified teachers, angering many in the profession. Until then, they could only employ people with qualified teacher status.

So, daughter of people running the business pitches in for no pay.

This is bad because?

40 thoughts on “Sounds pretty good to me”

  1. “They say her role reinforces the impression that the Nash family is treating the four-school chain as a private fiefdom.”
    It is a private fiefdom, isn’t it? Whole point of being in the private sector. You don’t have assoles telling you what to do.

  2. does have a degree in history

    is quite handy for a history teacher too.

    has no teaching qualifications

    And even better if she missed out on the brainwashing and indoctrination too: she might even try to teach the little bastards something.

  3. “Teaching qualification” is a most splendid scam.

    So, who would you rather learn from, someone who actually understands the subject but is a bit weak on the student/teacher thing, or someone with a mediocre grasp of the subject but has a very thorough set of slides and student assessment methodologies?

  4. A degree in history should be a sufficient qualification in itself.

    She hasn’t kissed the arse of the state by doing it how they tell you it suppos’d to be done.

    That is her crime.

    It would be even better if they stopped co-operating with the “certify-you’re-not-a-paedo” cash-farming scam as well.

    Having said that I don’t like the “Academy” shit. It is still corporate kiss-the-states-arse socialism in action. Not a true free market.

  5. Having said that I don’t like the “Academy” shit. It is still corporate kiss-the-states-arse socialism in action. Not a true free market.

    I’m hoping the long-term plan is that, once the majority of schools are academies and parents have seen general standards start to improve, then for-profit operators will be allowed to take over along the lines of the Swedish model.

  6. Weeelllll, it is not exactly bad per se.
    The only problematic point is what you actually skipped in your closing sentences, the ‘unqualified’ part. And no, having a degree in history does not automatically make you a good history teacher.
    I don’t wholly speak out of my ass. I had to teach some classes during my postgraduate studies. Lacking any pedagogical knowledge/training made it quite a chore, both for me and the students listening to me.

  7. Also, the fact that the pupils like her is not really that much of a validation.
    She can be a fantastic person but still a poor teacher.

  8. Most don’t and that is why they tend to be terrible lecturers even though they are experts in their respective fields.
    I can remember very few professors that were actually good at teaching, but then this may be only me…

  9. i should also mention that university professors have it easy in this respect. Most of their students are genuinely interested in the subject matter and will try to keep interest even in the face of boring lectures.
    10-16 year olds? i doubt it very much.

  10. I might also mention that my wife is a teacher and regularly teaches kids (she studied italian language and history, incidentally, but with additional pedagogical courses). It is amusing the see the things she has to come up (teaching games, class topics, …) to keep the classes interesting and the pupils interested.

  11. JoskoF: Being a qualified teacher doesn’t make you a good teacher.

    I’m sure most of the commenters here will have some experience of that.

  12. Bloke in North Dorset

    I was listening to the Headmaster of Eton talking about teachers. His view was the ability to inspire children was far more important than any academic qualifications.

  13. JoskoF
    Yup, I’ve been criticized by my head of dept. for not making classes interesting enough. I was unaware when I joined up that teaching was a branch of the entertainment industry. Should I apply for an Equity card I wonder?

  14. Just as having a degree doesn’t mean you can teach, having a teaching qualification doesn’t mean you can teach either. Remember all those crap teachers in the crap schools that everybody wants to sack? They all have teaching qualifications.

  15. “a bit weak on the student/teacher thing”

    There’s very little correlation between having a teaching degree and being a good teacher.

    Note also that a fair bit of the teaching degree — the only good bit — involves being sent out to schools to teach. That’s right. Some of a teaching degree is just getting experience at teaching. Which is what the ‘unqualified’ teacher is doing anyway.

  16. “I had to teach some classes during my postgraduate studies. Lacking any pedagogical knowledge/training made it quite a chore, both for me and the students listening to me.”

    But I imagine a full-timer would go on to pick it up pretty quickly, unlike the learning of history or whatever to degree level.

    Teacher training itself shouldn’t take more than a few weeks.

  17. I should also point out most Universities require new staff to get a higher ed. teaching degree, which they study for part-time while doing their job. These courses are mostly rubbish, and full of unempirical nonsense, and propaganda. The only good bit (on some of these courses) is that they film you doing a mock lecture and you get to watch yourself, so you can see how you can improve.

    This has been happening for 10-15 years now, so there’s now an awful lot of lecturers out there who have done them. Yet there are still loads of boring lecturers around.

    (It is true that you don’t get the really awful lecturers so much these days that you used to. But that’s not down to these courses, that’s down to the relentless focus of departments on student feedback results.)

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    JoskoF – “Lacking any pedagogical knowledge/training made it quite a chore, both for me and the students listening to me.”

    Teacher training has nothing to do with teaching people how to teach. It is about Social Justice and little else. I know a young woman from Asia who moved to Australia and did a teaching degree. She was asked her opinion in a class about indigenous Australians. She said that they should stop complaining, give up the alcohol and get a job like everyone in her home country did. She was told that if she did that again she would be failed.

    JoskoF – “Also, the fact that the pupils like her is not really that much of a validation. She can be a fantastic person but still a poor teacher.”

    Either education is part of the entertainment industry or it is not. Which?

    JoskoF – “Most don’t and that is why they tend to be terrible lecturers even though they are experts in their respective fields.”

    That is to fundamentally misunderstand what university lectures should be doing.

    JoskoF – “It is amusing the see the things she has to come up (teaching games, class topics, …) to keep the classes interesting and the pupils interested.”

    Because schools will not and cannot enforce discipline. Education is by its nature boring, dull and unnatural. Few take to it kindly. There is no point trying to make it interesting. That is just an excuse not to teach.

  19. A friend of mine who hated, hated, hated Public Schools was sent to Eton during teacher training; thought it wonderful, and the boys terribly impressive.

    After a couple of spells in state schools, thought better of teaching as a career and cleared off for better things.

  20. Playing devil’s advocate here for a moment, but how much history knowledge do you really need in order to teach the subject?

    In corporate training, the rule is that you just have to stay one page or one chapter ahead of your students. Yes, if a teacher has a true passion for the material then it will show; but if they’ve done a history degree with no real love for it, they’ll be no better a teacher than one who swots up on each chapter the night before teaching it to the class.

  21. So Much For Subtlety

    Andrew M – “but if they’ve done a history degree with no real love for it, they’ll be no better a teacher than one who swots up on each chapter the night before teaching it to the class.”

    Probably this is true for History. But in general young students are inclined to ask questions. You cannot swot overnight on many subjects to be able to even understand most questions. It is why we ought to be employing teachers with maths degrees not with useless teaching qualifications.

  22. As far as I can remember teachers in Public Schools are not required to have a teaching qualification as well as a degree. The only teacher at mine when I was there to have a Dip.Ed. was the woodwork teacher. So all the others would be deemed “unqualified” by the Grauniad and the poor pupils pitied as being horrendously disadvantaged compared to their contemporaries in the wonderful comprehensive schools.

  23. If the powers-that-be have views on teacher training similar to those of BiW and SMFS, as they clearly did when Michael Gove was Secretary of State and Dominic Cummings his main advisor, shouldn’t they be addressing the problem directly? Allowing a steady trickle of unqualified teachers into classrooms seems a poor substitute for a debate we ought to be having but aren’t.

  24. SMFS

    ‘Teacher training has nothing to do with teaching people how to teach. It is about Social Justice and little else’

    That is so true – you might well have added – a Hard Left vision of Social Justice – and having trained as a secondary school teacher I can confirm that is exactly the case questioning of the latest theories on LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM, gender ‘equality or race would almost certainly have got you thrown of the course back nearly two decades ago – I can;t even imagine how much more conformist things are now!

    ‘Because schools will not and cannot enforce discipline. Education is by its nature boring, dull and unnatural. Few take to it kindly. There is no point trying to make it interesting. That is just an excuse not to teach’

    That is what makes the current rows over SATS so inadvertently hysterical – Yes, these people, invariably of the unthinking Left want ‘kids to be kids’ and spared the rigours of testing – but the reality, as SMFS points out is that much of life consists of routines that are dull and repetitive – we are doing our children no favours if we try and sanitise this reality – however, that is what the previous five decades of ‘Progressive’ education theories have attempted to do, with the consequences we see in schools today where literacy levels of secondary school leavers are well below most of the world…

  25. Private/public schools typically do not require teaching qualifications for their teachers to teach.

    Parents pay thousands of pounds to avoid the schools where teachers all have teaching qualifications and instead send their kids to the schools where they don’t.

    No further discussion needed on the “value” of teaching qualifications.

  26. With the amount of CPD training teachers in our primary school have to undergo, and seeing that most of the qualification entails sitting in classes being observed, I think that an ability to inspire respect as well as the children, coupled with a good knowledge of the subject are by far the most important qualities of a teacher.

    Sorry for the way my phrase has turned out!

  27. Bloke in North Dorset

    Anyone who thinks that we should be teaching the way we’ve always taught with a few tweaks really hasn’t being paying attention to the work of Sugata Mitra.

    You can here him on the week’s Start The Week, a rare good one, or search out his TED talks.

  28. Education is by its nature boring, dull and unnatural. Few take to it kindly. There is no point trying to make it interesting. That is just an excuse not to teach

    I strongly disagree. A few things are worth learning by rote – times tables say – and that’s boring. Beyond that, it’s almost impossible to develop a worthwhile understanding of any subject without being interested in it.

  29. In my great-grandparents’ day just having a degreee was enough, it was irrelevant what it was in. Grandad’s was English, Grandma’s was French. Both ended up as headteachers by the time they retired. But, that was back in the day when teaching was a Profession and not a job.

  30. Intractable Potsherd

    I agree with everything said about the dire state of schools. Mrs IP and I are just about to have twins, and there is no way that they are going to school (of any type) if we can avoid it. We want them to *think*, not parrot bizarre theories about AGW, gender, religion etc on pain of being punished, so home education is the plan. Of course, living in Scotland, that is going to put us on a crash-course with the government, because their tidy little home-spy scheme – sorry, Named Person Scheme – will have to work out how to get snoopers into the house to make sure that the children have enough say on what they watch on TV, and the colour of their bedroom walls, and how much cycling (and recycling) they do … but I’m ready and willing for the fight.

    I do disagree with learning being boring, though – learning is one of the greatest pleasures in life, regardless of academic accomplishment. One of the worst things that has been done by the school system is to make people believe that learning is boring, and so many people make it a rule never to consciously learn anything new once school years have passed by. Learning and education are two similar, but largely unrelated, concepts.

  31. because their fascist little home-spy scheme

    Or periodically hire a couple of budding young thesps..:)

  32. Intractable Potsherd

    Hell, PF – that’s a horrible thought! *Not* being on FaecesBook (which I’m not, and I doubt the twins will be until they reach the age of legal capacity) constituting suspicious behaviour!! I’ll have nightmares now, because there is a chilling ring of truth to what you say.

    I don’t think we’ll be in Scotland for long – the tendency to State overreach makes England look almost Utopian.

  33. So Much For Subtlety

    Social Justice Warrior – “I strongly disagree. A few things are worth learning by rote – times tables say – and that’s boring. Beyond that, it’s almost impossible to develop a worthwhile understanding of any subject without being interested in it.”

    I be worried if you didn’t Paul. But suppose I wanted to learn Bengali so that I could read Rabindranath Tagore in the original. To be honest I expect it would utterly tedious, but for the purposes of this argument let us assume that Tagore wrote something worth reading and that it would be pleasurable to read it.

    How would you propose that I read Tagore in the original? Just jump in and start reading? Or would I have to spend a year or two assiduously learning vocabulary and grammar rules in order to be in a position to understand Bengali?

    Being able to speak to the bus driver in German is wonderful. Much less reading something like Basho in the original. But it takes years of learning. The schools get stuck with the boring preparation bits where they have to prepare students for the joys of traveling in Europe. Or deciding that parallel lines do meet in space. Or whatever. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, the interesting parts come after school and school ought to be laying the foundations. As boring as that might be.

  34. How would you propose that I read Tagore in the original? Just jump in and start reading?

    You’d need to put some not-very-interesting effort into learning the alphabet, some basic vocabulary, and the common inflections. After that, study parallel texts of something you’re interested in reading. You’d need the mental discipline to follow the Bengali as well as the English text, but if you want to do it, there’s no need for it to be dull.

    You want to speak to the bus driver in German? To do that, what most children learn at school is useless. Learn a few conversational words, go to Germany, and speak to people, howsoever incompetently.

    It’s boring learning things which are arbitrary and irrelevant. There’s a lot of arbitrary stuff in language, but you can compensate for that by making it highly relevant to you.

  35. So Much For Subtlety

    Social Justice Warrior – “You’d need to put some not-very-interesting effort into learning the alphabet, some basic vocabulary, and the common inflections.”

    So basically we are in agreement – learning languages starts out incredibly boring.

    “After that, study parallel texts of something you’re interested in reading. You’d need the mental discipline to follow the Bengali as well as the English text, but if you want to do it, there’s no need for it to be dull.”

    Ahh, the unicorn fart powered solution.

    “You want to speak to the bus driver in German? To do that, what most children learn at school is useless. Learn a few conversational words, go to Germany, and speak to people, howsoever incompetently.”

    Well no. You would need a great many very patient German bus drivers to do that. What most children learn at school is useless. Because their teachers don’t like going through the same declinations year after year. They prefer to put on a DVD. But again, there is no alternative to learning a language. Unless you get a girlfriend I suppose.

    “It’s boring learning things which are arbitrary and irrelevant. There’s a lot of arbitrary stuff in language, but you can compensate for that by making it highly relevant to you.”

    By definition everything children do is irrelevant to them because it is preparation for the rest of their lives. Part of it is also winnowing. You teach everyone some mathematics to see who is smart enough to benefit from more. Which means it is irrelevant to most people. They do not go on to do A levels much less university degrees in most things they learn.

    There is no escape from this. It is inherent in education.

  36. Because their teachers don’t like going through the same declinations year after year.

    That’s got nothing at all to do with conversational language. Listen to footballers being interviewed on the television. They commit all sorts of inflectional errors (or dialectal variations, from the native speakers). It’s no barrier to conversation.

    Might I suggest that you confine your remarks to some subject you’ve learnt a fair amount about, if there is one. How did you go about doing it?

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