Most of the arguments pro two-tier are based on half-truths. This is an excellent way to mislead, because the unwary recognise the half that is true and fail to spot the logical inconsistency in the other 50%.
Example number 1:
Pro two-tier: there are practically no middle years training courses in the country, therefore teacher recruitment in Bedford is doomed.
Pro three-tier: This fails to recognise that most middle school teachers choose to teach in a middle school and, once in the system, are extremely happy to stay there. Far from being a dead end in a career, middle schools offer opportunities for leadership in human-sized organisations that would otherwise not exist for many teachers.
It also avoids the real positive of middle schools, which is the vibrant and creative mix of primary generalists and secondary specialists, something that is very modern indeed. In a truly two-tier system, primary and secondary go their separate ways and “never the twain shall meet”.
This then leads to one very harsh transition between sometimes very small primary schools and massive secondary schools – which in the end is much more disruptive than two smaller well-managed transitions.
Teachers don’t look at the whole country when they choose their jobs – they tend to teach in areas in which their family lives, where they studied, or where their partner works. Very few make large geographical moves more than once or twice. Teacher recruitment problems are a huge red herring.
Good schools will always attract good teachers, whatever the system. Many of our schools are already very good or outstanding – so why aren’t we targeting resources at the challenging schools rather than looking to change a whole system?