TEACHERS leaders have warned the Scottish Government against going ahead with a controversial training scheme that would give graduates just five weeks of “summer school” before thrusting them into the classroom.

Larry Flanagan from the EIS said the “learning on the job” approach operated by charity Teach First would be an “assault on the high professional standards which operate in Scottish Education”.

Yesterday, our sister paper, The Herald reported that Education Secretary John Swinney was talking to Teach First as part of the Scottish Government’s search for a new teacher training course targeted at plugging vacancies in rural schools and key subjects such as science, technology and maths.

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In Scotland the traditional model of university teacher education sees graduates undertake a year of study – including a handful of short work placements – before joining a school as a probationer in their second year.

Teach First would see graduates paid and in the classroom after five weeks, ultimately working towards a qualification over two years.

Flanagan said: “The concept of ‘learning on the job’, an approach endorsed by Michael Gove when he was Education Minister south of the Border, is fundamentally flawed. No-one would deny the importance of classroom exposure in developing initial skills but it is essential that student teachers have more than a set of ‘lesson plans for beginners’ before leading classes.

“Teach First is predicated on the mistaken notion that academic success equates to being a good teaching candidate. It does not.”

He added: “Frankly, the EIS does not believe that placing unqualified graduates in schools will lead to better outcomes for Scotland’s children.

“One of the great strengths of our system is that all of Scotland’s pupils are taught by fully qualified teachers.”

Neither the Scottish Government or Teach First responded to requests for a comment.