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Secondary school teachers should have studied at leading universities.

Secondary schools should employ more teachers that studied at leading universities, claims former Labour minister Lord Adonis.

In recent comments at the Independent Academies Association conference in London, Lord Adonis, now Executive Director of the Institute for Government, argued that there needs to be an increase in the number of teachers that studied at Oxbridge and other elite universities within the secondary education system.

Adonis argues that an increase in elite university graduate teachers is necessary to raise the aspirations and foster any academic talent within secondary schools. Consequently, with greater subject knowledge and understanding of the university admissions system; he argues more pupils from secondary schools and more disadvantaged backgrounds will ultimately make it into the top universities themselves.

He went on to say that it can be “very very difficult to send students on to top universities unless you have a certain proportion of your teachers who come from those universities themselves”.

His comments follow a recent report by The Sutton Trust, an organisation dedicated to improving social mobility through education, which stated that “Private school students are 55 times more likely to win a place at Oxbridge and 22 times more likely to go to a top-ranked university than students at state schools who qualify for Free School Meals”.

Ultimately, the words of Lord Adonis resonate with wider social mobility issues within the UK. However, with regard to education at least there are initiatives in place which seek to improve social mobility in this area, one such example is Teach First. This aims to provide secondary schools with teachers who received a leading university education. This year alone, it will recruit 800 graduates whom once trained as teachers will enter the secondary school system and more specifically, into struggling comprehensive schools.

The long-term consequences of this initiative are still unknown; although perhaps the simple recognition of an imbalance and an overriding social mobility issue is a step forward in itself.


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