Page last updated at 14:23 GMT, Wednesday, 30 April 2008 15:23 UK

Sixth formers teach other pupils

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The school is a technology specialist where "success is an attitude"

A comprehensive school is employing its sixth formers to deliver occasional lessons to younger pupils.

Two dozen A-level students at Chalfonts Community College in Buckinghamshire are being paid 5 per lesson, in preference to supply teachers.

The school feels this is better than employing temporary teachers who are unfamiliar with its ways.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) said such arrangements were not illegal.

The school's principal, Sue Tanner, said: "The quality of some of the supply teachers that come here is less than we would expect.

"They are not teaching, it is more like babysitting, they are just coming in and sitting there to cover," she told the Bucks Free Press newspaper.

"Sometimes they don't understand the expectations here, that we have a behaviour policy we expect teachers to follow."


Ms Tanner said the positive attitude of the sixth form students could be put to good use.

"The students get the information they need for the lesson the day before and they are expected to work on it overnight so they are well prepared."

Training was also given for issues such as confidentiality and "classroom control".

An adult "cover supervisor" was always present.

Mrs Tanner told the paper: "It has been fantastic beyond our expectations because the feedback we get from the children is, 'We are learning something'."

There was no comment from the local authority, Buckinghamshire County Council.

A spokeswoman for the DCSF said schools had a certain amount of flexibility which could include occasionally using non-teachers to take lessons provided they were supervised by a qualified teacher.

But it was not something the department was keen to encourage.

"We do not micro manage schools and they have certain flexibilities within the law - this includes occasionally using non-teachers to take lessons if they are supervised by a qualified teacher."

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