Teachers Oppose New UK Policy for Nursery Teachers

June 10, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. sector / ˈsɛk tər / (n.) – a part of a society or a country’s economy
Example: The country’s agricultural sector needs support from the government.

2. contest / kənˈtɛst / (v.) – to disagree with or argue against something
Example: The student contested the exam results.

3. credential / krɪˈdɛn ʃəl / [kri-DEN-shuh l] (n.) – skill or experience that adds to a person’s suitability to a job
Example: Her most relevant credential is her teaching experience.

4. join hands / dʒɔɪn hænds / [ (idiom) – to unite with others
Example: The protesters joined hands to fight for free education.

5. aspiring / əˈspaɪrɪŋ / (adj.) – hoping to have or achieve something
Example: My brother is an aspiring actor.


Read the text below.
People from the early education sector are contesting a policy imposed by the UK government that requires high GCSE ratings for new nursery teachers.

The GCSE, or General Certificate of Secondary Education, is a certification in the United Kingdom for various academic subjects, such as math or English, or work-related fields such as healthcare. GCSE ratings can help a person find a good school or job. Ratings range from A* [ey stahr] to G, with A* being the highest.

Under the policy, new staff must have at least a grade of C in math and English in order to qualify as a nursery teacher. A spokesperson from the Department of Education said that the new requirement was imposed because they believe that nursery teachers must have good numeracy and literacy skills.

Several nurseries and childcare organizations in the United Kingdom have expressed their disapproval of the government’s policy because they believe that it will cause a serious shortage in nursery staff, as fewer people would be able to meet the new qualifications despite having other good credentials.

Many nursery teachers have joined hands to create the Save Our Early Years campaign. The campaign aims to convince the UK government to scrap the new policy. Among those who support the campaign is Carol Medcalf, who has been the Managing Director of her own primary school for 25 years.

Medcalf said that the new policy will discourage many people from pursuing a career in early education. She also said that she was forced to turn down many aspiring teachers despite their good qualifications just because their GCSE ratings did not reach the new standard.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that having high academic ratings is necessary in being a nursery teacher? Why or why not?
·         Aside from academic skills, what are other characteristics that a teacher should have?

Discussion B

·         Do you believe that a teacher can have a lifelong impact on a student? Why or why not?
·         Aside from teachers, who else can influence a person’s education? Discuss.

June 10, 2016