Today, Michael Gove has ‘raised the bar’ for prospective teachers by unveiling an overhaul of tests in a move he claimed would improve the status of the profession. Gove said the new “rigorous selection” for trainees would help raise standards in the classroom.

The move came as the education minister David Laws accused teachers of having “depressingly low expectations” for their pupils.

Under the newest proposals, to be introduced from next September, anyone who wants to train as a teacher will have to complete revamped tests in English and maths. A paper on verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning is also due to be introduced in the next few years. Calculators will not be allowed and the pass marks for both the English and maths tests will be raised again, the Department for Education

Also among the measures is a plan for candidates eventually needing to score the equivalent of a grade B at GCSE to pass.

Whilst I understand the need for knowledgable teachers, to me these measures miss something important, the need for a teacher to inspire. In the independent , an interview with the newly anointed Teacher of the year, Nathan Kemp, talked about the impact a male teacher can have in early years and primary education, dating that “it’s not just about giving children from single- parent families male role models. It’s about having that balance – growing up and socialising with both sexes.”

As someone who has had extensive experience in a primary school in anticipation for (hopefully) starting a PGCE course, I completely agree and it reaffirms that a teacher’s function isn’t just to teach facts, but to inspire and aid a child’s development socially. A twitter teacher friend of mine @mattbritland posed a question ‘If I got a C for Maths, does that mean I will not be a good teacher? Is this all that teaching comes down to?’. I think it’s a sad state of affairs when a blinkered view of teaching facts is all teaching amounts to.


A teacher doesn’t just impart facts,
Pythagoras theorem, advanced Maths,
like some glorified encyclopaedia, dry,
the when, how but not why

a teacher is meant to be a role model for those who have none,
from 9 to 3 you should be a superhero,
a wonder woman,
a superman.

A teacher is meant to inspire,
kindle a fire, a desire to learn,
to grow, to aspire, to dream,
that’s what being a teacher truly means.


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