Tue 14 Nov, 2017

The truth is; government ministers should have ruled out using Teach First a long time ago. Ross Greer MSP

The government “got lucky” says a Green MSP after a charity pulled out of the running to win a contract to deliver new routes into teaching.

The controversial scheme by Teach First, already in place in England, would have seen trainee teachers fast-tracked into schools after just five weeks of training and at a significantly higher cost than those who graduate from Scottish universities.

Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens’ education spokesperson welcomed the news, but said that ministers should have shown better judgement by ruling out Teach-First style fast-track schemes in the first place.

West of Scotland MSP, Ross Greer said:

“A scheme which would see individuals standing in front of a class after just five weeks of training was never a good idea and frankly, the government got lucky that Teach First pulled their bid. We’ve been holding them under the spotlight over this for some time but there are questions that still need to be answered on this organisation’s relationship with the government, given the series of unminuted meetings and lobbying on their behalf by Prince Charles, all before the tender process had even began.

“This was a scheme which in England cost many times more to deliver than the traditional Scottish route into teaching and which has the lowest retention rate of any approach, making the issue of teacher recruitment and retention worse, not better.

“The truth is; government ministers should have ruled out using Teach First a long time ago. What our schools really need is more fully qualified teachers and more Additional Support Needs staff, not attempted shortcuts with dubious funding models delivering unqualified staff into schools."

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Members supported a motion which noted that one in four pupils in Scotland has a recognised additional support need but since 2010 over 500 ASN teachers and hundreds of specialist support staff have been cut.

Ross Greer MSP, Education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: