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Our teachers are qualified, so are we ok in health and safety terms?

Having employees which hold appropriate academic qualifications in themselves does not mean that the employer has complied with their legal duties under health and safety legislation. Employers are required to ensure that their employees are competent.

Another issue which schools and colleges need to address is whether the qualification the person holds actually covers the areas of the subject which they want them to teach. As an example, Physical Education degrees can vary significantly in the range and depth in which individual sports are taught. This poses a potential problem if the school or college wants the teacher to deliver higher risk activities (for example gymnastics or full contact rugby) as they may not be competent to teach or referee these. In such cases we would recommend that reference is made to the national governing bodies for the sports to identify further development for the teachers

In some subjects such as Design and Technology there are now competence schemes in place. A newly qualified teacher in this subject area should have participated in the Design and Technology Association's (DATA) scheme as part of their degree course and have appropriate certification. The DATA scheme is wide ranging and therefore the NQT may not have the full range of competencies required by the school or college. The Scheme also requires re-accrediation at regular intevals in order to maintain competence.

Primary schools need to be similarly aware that an NQTs may not have competence to deliver some activities, for example simple gymnastics such as forward rolls, as teaching these is not usually a part of their training.