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Desperate days

THE outbreak of bizarre news from the front line of education is simultaneously elating and depressing. "Hire a supply teacher and earn a toaster" would have been a joke only a year ago: now, one desperate school has qualified for a video projector after spending pound;450,000 on temporary staff. What next? Air miles for heads to spend recruiting overseas?

Schools' job ads are also getting weirder. "Name your price," urges one, whilst another has "the ultimate dream job. No teaching, no marking!" (It's for a librarian). Sadly, the school offering free-rnge eggs alongside the laptop and relocation package has so far found no takers.

It's a joy to see the spirit of inventiveness reappearing in schools after years of increasingly imposed conformity, though the underlying reasons are alarming. Take note: it's the type of approach that private firms running state schools are being encouraged to follow.

How ironic if the recruitment crisis started to push schools out of the bog-standard rut created by two decades of government initiatives... before the new regime gets around to the job.

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