MP Nicky Morgan fielded questions about country’s education system upon a visit to Netherthorpe School, in Staveley, on Thursday.
When asked about the pressure put on teachers to perform, she answered: “When I go round schools a lot of teachers say to me they’re there because it’s a vocation, they’re absolutely passionate about it.”
She added that often it wasn’t so much the teaching aspect of the job that teachers found stressful, but everything that surrounded it such as day–to–day administration, Ofsted and marking.
She added: “We’re short of teachers in certain subjects and there are areas such as physics where we’re struggling to get the right numbers.”
Ms Morgan said that in comparison there were a lot of people applying to be primary school teachers.
She explained that the new GCSE grading system – which goes from one to nine, nine being the highest – had been brought about because of the increasing standards in pupil achievement and it gave room for even higher marks of ten upwards.
When asked about the rate of change in teaching structure, Ms Morgan answered: “The reason for the changes is innovation is a critical part of the future of this country and we have to have high standards.”
She added that it was important that the qualifications offered at schools reflected the skills sought by employers.
Ms Morgan continued: “There has been a lot of change, that doesn’t mean there won’t be more.”
She listened to the teachers’ concerns that the increase in university fees would mean a lot of students may not go to university, but explained that the fees are not paid up front.
“If you don’t earn above the £21,000 threshold you don’t pay them back,” Ms Morgan added.
When it came to the Government’s recent policy to turn more schools into academies, she explained that academies had initially been introduced by the Government to help schools that were failing, with the aim of improving their standards.
“We trust out head teachers to make the right decisions,” she added.
To view a video of Nicky Morgan’s visit to Derbyshire, see the Matlock Mercury website, www.matlockmercury.co.uk
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