Could academy schools in West Berkshire hire unqualified teachers?
Unions have slammed the decision by the Government to relax rules as potentially hugely damaging to the development of pupils.
St Bartholomew’s School and Park House in Newbury, Kennet School in Thatcham, and Denefield in Tilehurst, have all converted to academy status and separated themselves from the rule of the Local Education Authority, West Berkshire Council.
All four can choose to employ teachers who are unqualified in mainstream teaching roles from the beginning of the next term.
The Government said this meant academies would be free to hire "great linguists, computer scientists and other specialists who have not worked in state schools before".
The National Association of Head Teachers South Central England, which represents Newbury and West Berkshire, said the move ran the risk of jeopardising standards and would do nothing to aid recruitment of high quality staff.
The NAHT general secretary, Russell Hobby, said: “This is a significant backward step which may damage the professionalism of teaching at a time when we should be strengthening it.
“In terms of education, nothing matters more than the quality of teaching. A recognised and demanding entry qualification is the hallmark of a profession and an assurance to parents that the people they trust with the care and instruction of their children know what they are doing.”