Stressed lecturer - or satisfied schoolteacher?

Talent-spotting college master promises research time and keen students. Sarah Cunnane reports

February 24, 2011

Schools may start to view the higher education sector as a rich hunting ground for new staff as lecturers grow disaffected with the lack of job security, the head of a private school has said.

Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, is seeking to poach a mathematics teacher from a university, and he predicted that his strategy may become commonplace as the effects of higher education funding cuts are felt.

He said that academics might be tempted to make the move because of the low priority given to teaching in higher education.

"Part of the problem with the university sector at the moment is that insufficient numbers know how to teach and love doing it," he said.

"I think the poor contact time with students and the state of the economy might encourage them to move over to schools, where they would be teaching their chosen subject to bright and interested students for some 20 hours a week."

While some academics have chosen to move into the schools sector, Dr Seldon acknowledged that at present it was unusual for a headmaster to target lecturers actively.

"I'm sure universities are full of those who could have taught in schools and probably would have been very successful at it," he said.

"The life of a teacher in schools that have well-motivated and serious-minded young people who want to learn can be deeply rewarding for (those used to life as) academics."

Dr Seldon said that leaving higher education did not have to mean forgoing research. He claimed there would be "plenty of time" for an academic who took up a post at a secondary school to pursue research alongside teaching duties.

He said he could envisage other headmasters following in his footsteps, but suggested it may be more likely to happen in the independent sector.

"The state sector is very hung up on the fact you have to be trained as a teacher, whereas the independent sector isn't that fussed about teaching qualifications," he said.

"Many of the best teachers I know have not been through a formal training system. It's helpful, but far more important is that innate quality and the will to want to do it."

Dr Seldon said he was "very cross" about the underfunding of the higher education sector, which he said was "the biggest single error" in government policy.

On his unusual recruitment strategy, he added: "It may be that no one will apply. It's an honest attempt to test the market."

sarah.cunnane@tsleducation.com.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride