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News - 25 October 2013

Nick Clegg promises head teacher 'champions league'

The deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has proposed a “Champions League” of head teachers which will be ready to move at short notice into failing schools. He says that from September next year the Government will create a "programme to get outstanding leaders into the schools that need them the most".

He has also emphasised that only professionally qualified teachers are to be employed by Academy and Free schools. However, he said the rules would not apply to private schools, which also employ teachers without professional qualifications, because "you pay your fees and you take your choice", but children using taxpayer-funded schools had a right to expect basic standards.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS and an active school governor comments:
“The number of unqualified teachers in free schools and academies has gone up from 2,200 in 2010 to 5,300 last year, according to Education Department figures, although the overall number of unqualified teachers in the state sector as a whole has fallen.”

Downing Street has taken issue with the Lib Dem position on free schools, saying that, as recently as last week, Lib Dem schools minister David Laws had said he was "100% behind" the policy.

But, in his speech, Mr Clegg will say: "I am totally unapologetic that the Liberal Democrats have our own ideas about how we do that."

Labour's shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said: "Nick Clegg will be judged on what he does, not what he says. Whatever he says about free schools today, the truth is this divisive policy is his - enacted by his Tory-led government because of his help and support."

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