Brighton: Headmaster's Concerns Over Teachers' Basic Literacy

A headmaster has revealed examples of "semi-literate'' applications he received from teachers hoping to land a senior post at his leading public school.

Richard Cairns, from Brighton College, said some of the entries he was sent from serving teachers were "really worrying''.

One candidate said he liked to "see a student bossom'' (sic), another gave his date of birth as 1053 and listed over two pages his experience flying a single-engined plane.

Mr Cairns was also addressed as "Dear Mr Richard'' by one person and as "Dear Cairns'' by another, the Sunday Times reported.

As well as the CVs and covering letters littered with errors, Mr Cairns also revealed the low standard of academic qualifications some teachers had.

He told the newspaper: "When you look at their qualifications, they have Cs, Ds and Es at A-level and third-class degrees from not very reputable universities.

"You have people trying to teach the basics to children when they do not themselves have a grasp of the basics.''

Mr Cairns thought there was a "lost generation'' of teachers aged between 25 and 40. He has now called for the Government to set tough minimum standards for teachers to pass before they can enter the classroom.

"Ministers need to decree that teachers need a minimum of three Bs at A-level and an upper second-class degree in their subject before they are allowed to teach,'' he said.

Of the 50 applications Mr Cairns received for the post of assistant headteacher, 30 were from state school candidates, and 12 were "semi-literate'', he said.

"These are serving teachers and this is really worrying,'' he said. Only one state school teacher made the final shortlist, and he was not appointed.

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