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Liberal Democrats Guarantee All Core Subject Lessons Will Be Taught By Specialist Teachers

April 27, 2005 12:00 AM

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy, and Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary, Phil Willis, today guaranteed that in the core subjects of English, maths, science, modern languages and information and communications technology all secondary school children will be taught by suitably qualified teachers.

The Liberal Democrats will allocate £230 million over the next Parliament to give additional training to 44,000 teachers in these core subjects.


  • Almost half a million lessons in core subjects are taught by non-specialist teachers;

-44,000 teachers who are taking classes are not specialists in that core subject;

  • 1 in 4 maths teachers have no maths qualification beyond A-level.

Charles Kennedy said:

"There is no substitute for expert, enthusiastic teaching when it comes to bringing out the best in our children.

"Enthusiasm. Dedication. Optimism. Expertise. These are the qualities of our best teachers and I want the whole profession to be equipped with the skills and support they need to do the job.

"Our guarantee is that in the core subjects - maths, English, science, modern languages and information and communications technology - all pupils will be taught by a properly qualified teacher who is expert in that subject.

"We will offer high-level in-service training to teachers who would like to teach a new subject. This will be fair to teachers - giving them the tools to do the job. And fair to pupils - ensuring quality and expert teaching.

"Our Pupils' Guarantee is part of the Liberal Democrat commitment to our young people. The Liberal Democrats are the Real Alternative at this election."

Phil Willis said:

"Eight years after the pledge to concentrate on 'education, education, education' why are there still 40,000 teachers walking into classrooms in this country expected to lead a class in a subject where they have no more than an A level qualification themselves?

"Teachers are professionals - they want and deserve proper professional training.

"Alongside our support for a reformed and relevant secondary curriculum, enthusiastic expert teaching is vital for pupil success."

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson in the Lords, Baroness Walmsley said:

"Children only get one chance at an education, we need to get it right the first time.

"Our plans are ambitious for every child. We want to see our children begin their education in smaller class sizes so they can spend more time with their teacher.

"When we get to secondary school we want that quality of education to continue which is why we want ambitious, inquisitive and vigorous young minds to be taught by expert and enthusiastic subject specialists."