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Changing times

Hearing the news from the teachers' union conferences, I was struck by one overwhelming thought; what other profession would hold its main conference during one of the two major holidays of the year and particularly across a weekend and Bank Holiday?

Perhaps we can add this to the less-than-professional catalogue of courses teachers attend where they have to pay for their interval refreshments; where they are occasionally offered a paltry Pounds 1.10 allowance for lunch; where they trot off to courses at the weekend with no expenses for transport and now, more than often pay out of their own pockets for the privilege.

Although teachers are being told to manage schools like model businesses, we still conduct our professional lives in a totally unbusinesslike way. I don't just blame underfunding by the Government. As long as the profession regards its own time with such little esteem, and this includes the unions, then we will never be more than well-meaning folk, happy to give up the odd extra hours long after the other professions have collected their overtime money.

STEVE MERRELL

37 Courtlands

Teston, Kent

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