Heads dismiss plans to fast-track forces

TEACHING staff have criticised the government’s proposals to allow ex-military personnel to become teachers without completing a university degree course.

Plans to allow former service men and women into the profession after just two years of on-the-job training are being met with caution by many teachers and head teachers up and down the country.

Michael Madden, headmaster at Chatsmore Catholic High School in Goring Street, Goring, said: “I’m all for anyone coming into the profession, but to come in with all the relevant, necessary qualifications.

“I wonder why we would want to change the rules and make a special consideration for a certain section of employed society.

“While those in the military may posses a specific set of skills, the job still requires the appropriate academic qualifications.”

Ministers have suggested teachers with a background in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force could help to improve the level discipline in Britain’s schools.

Mr Madden said he thought there was an assumption that discipline in schools and military discipline were one and the same, but that the reality was not so straightforward.

Under new rules set to come into force next year, ex-military candidates will need experience as mentors, coaches or instructors in order to be eligible for the fast-track training.

Stephen Mercer, head teacher at St Andrew’s High School in Sackville Road, Worthing, said: “I know the government would argue that forces staff are trained to lead and manage people at all different levels.

“I’m sure they are brilliantly trained but perhaps not in working with young people in the classroom, which is not the same as working with adults under a very different set of circumstances.”

Usually, candidates spend at least three years studying for a university degree before starting a year-long teacher-training course.

Andy Lutwyche, maths teacher at Worthing High School, said while he was not really concerned about the plans, there were a lot of mixed messages coming from Westminster at the moment regarding standards and quality.

The new training scheme will involve former service personnel spending four days a week in the classroom and one at university.