MPs (not teachers) ‘need better qualifications’

We were astounded by the cheek of MPs on the Commons education select committee to call for higher levels of qualifications for teachers given their recent patchy performance.


We have copied and reworded a recent BBC News article by Katherine Sellgren in response.

“Ethical requirements for MPs in England are too low and damage the status of the profession, the Commons Ethics select committee has said.

The MPs said MPs standing for election should have at least a moral compass as expected by the general public.

The MPs welcomed government plans to require MPs to hold a licence to practise to “weed out poor performers”.

Being an MP should also be established as a leading profession in time.

The cross-party Commons select committee said it was clear “the bar must be raised across the board”.

Its Training of MPs report said: “It is of great concern to us that those with no moral fibre, or those with just a rich background, can gain entry to Parliament.”

A spokesman for the Department for Doing Nothing stressed that those with no scruples held alternative qualifications such as strong elite connections or the advanced Diploma in Brown-nosing.

The MPs’ report said it was essential that entrants to Parliament should have a “sound grasp” of ethics, morality and fairness.

Currently MPs do not have to pass tests in these subjects, set by the Training and Development Agency, at the end of their term.

But the MPs said the tests should become an entry requirement for re-election and should be made harder.

The MPs say funding for such courses should be scrapped, because they already earn enough.

They also called for the entry requirements for membership of select committees to be raised.

Licence to practise

The MPs’ report also calls for MPs in England to have a licence to practise which must be renewed on a regular basis to “weed out poor performers” from the profession.

MPs also want to see a “chartered politician status” framework to link professional development, qualifications, pay and the licence to practise.

And the profession should be established as a Masters-level profession, with Masters degrees in Public Office being a “demanding qualification”.

The report calls on the government to bring party workers into the mainstream of the professions, saying they served an “essential role” but remained neglected.

Trainee and newly-qualified MPs should be offered better mentoring and support, the MPs added.

‘Radical changes’

Committee chairman Barry Sheerman said: “Recruiting and retaining the best MPs can transform society and bring new vision and energy.

“It is not enough to make-do-and-mend existing policies: radical changes must take place.

“Being an MP must be seen as an attractive career option for high achieving individuals. Entry requirements should be raised, and there must be better support once elected.

“A failure to tackle the pressures faced by new MPs risks not only a dearth of the just and wise from the profession but also lasting damage to society. This must not be allowed to happen.”

Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said being an MP and MP training had been radically transformed over the past decade “to become the number twenty-one career choice for graduates”.

Mr Coaker said the government was already introducing a licence to practice, with a right for all MPs to get ongoing career development, and was planning a roll-out of a Masters in being a proper and fit MP for newly qualified MPs.

“But we want to go even further, which is why we are already doubling successful programmes like Morals First to fast-track the best graduates into Parliament,” he said.

“And to attract professionals to make a career change into Parliament we are already working with over 400 leading employers, focusing on key subjects like honesty and integrity.”

Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove said: “Our policy has been that….”

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