Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/21/libdems_education/

Trainee teachers score F all in maths tests

LibDems: Force unemployed city workers into the classroom

By Joe Fay

Posted in Government, 21st October 2008 12:57 GMT

The LibDems have proposed that the government take advantage of mass layoffs in the City to boost the country’s increasingly innumerate teaching profession.

The third party has uncovered government figures that show “increasing numbers of trainee teachers are having to resit basic maths tests” which are a pre-requisite for entry into the profession.

Since 2001, trainee teachers failed the maths test 20,000 times, with the average number of attempts needed to pass the test up by over a fifth since 2001. Sadly there’s no indication as to whether these repeated fails actually prevented any of the mathematically-challenged candidates being let loose on a class of unformed minds.

Anyone thinking this simply demonstrates how the teaching profession is stuffed full of English graduates unable to get jobs as poets can think again. The average number of attempts to pass the literacy test for teachers was up 16 per cent.

Apparently, the number of applicants for teaching courses is on the rise. This could be due to the government jacking up spending on education and working hard to increase the status of the teaching professions.

Alternatively, those of us with memories long enough to remember the last serious economic contraction in the UK might suggest it’s simply a rush by the newly unemployable towards one of the few professions seen as recession-proof.

The LibDems seem to be leaning towards the latter, with Shadow Children, Schools and Families Secretary David Laws declaring that existing minimum qualifications for teaching are too low.

“The economic slowdown should be used as an opportunity to promote teaching as a profession and attract top graduates in the same way as the TeachFirst programme has done on a smaller scale,” says Laws.

Yes, that’s right. We should draft the City’s leftovers into the education system, presumably to teach maths, economics and geography.

That way, kids can learn that depending on how you slice the numbers two and two actually equal zero, because what you actually do is move the result off the balance sheet into the Caymans, thus avoiding corporation tax and capital gains. ®