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Brighton College head fights back over 'easy gig' comment
Brighton College head Richard Cairns has slammed Labour’s education spokesman Tristram Hunt for claiming teachers at his school had an “easy gig”.
Speaking on BBC1’s Sunday Politics show, Labour’s shadow Education Secretary was questioned about the school’s policy of taking on teachers without formal qualifications.
It was put to Mr Hunt that Mr Cairns finds inspirational teachers who do not necessarily have an official teaching qualification.
But the Labour MP caused outrage at the private school, which charges more than £10,000 a term, when he responded by saying: “It is a very different set of skills to teach ten nice young boys and girls in Brighton compared to running a class of 30 kids with more challenging circumstances, with special educational needs, with differing abilities.
“Being a teacher at Brighton College is an easy gig compared to being a teacher in some very difficult schools where we want teachers to have the training capacity to be able to teach effectively.”
Mr Cairns responded that the MP should stop knocking his teachers for doing their jobs. He said: “I am saddened that any politician should seek to denigrate my teachers in this way.
“They are incredibly dedicated professionals who work long hours to bring out the very best in the young people in their care.
“The school day is much longer than in the state sector and there is an expectation that all teachers be involved in the extra-curricular programme, including taking sport and activities on Saturdays.
“Pupils are encouraged to work hard and play hard, and their teachers are with them every step of the way. It is certainly not a vocation for the idle or the faint-hearted.
“What worries me about these comments is what they say about current Labour Party thinking. We have a section of our educational system that is regularly ranked as among the best of its kind in the world.
“Without our pupils, there would be a desperate shortage of students studying science, engineering and modern languages in our universities. And we would win fewer Olympic medals. Tristram Hunt should stop knocking what my teachers achieve and start doing as Brighton College is doing – providing the very best education for the children in our care, while taking our social responsibility seriously through sponsorship of a school in the East End of London for deprived students.”
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