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A few choice words for 2005

As we head into the new year, our spirits lifted by the annual celebration of shopping and gluttony that is Christmas, we start afresh with a more positive outlook.

Or perhaps not. If you are a lecturer in an FE college, your Christmas was probably not as materialistic as most people's, owing to the fact that you were probably skint.

In fact, one of my best-informed moles on the employers' side tells me that the number of colleges which have introduced the nationally-agreed pay deal in full, by which I mean with every I dotted and every T crossed, is no more than about two or three.

Whatever the real figure may be, lecturers' status as a cheap alternative to schoolteachers will be reinforced as more and more colleges take on 14 to16 year-old students.

Sounds to me like 14 to 16 work would be a pretty obvious thing for lecturers to refuse to do, as a form of industrial action, until they've got equal pay with their colleagues in all those schools which are so clearly failing to do the business with many of these teenagers.

I don't know about you, but I think something which works is worth more than something that doesn't. It's called value for money. Bit right-wing, I know, but on this occasion, my FE chums, it works in your favour.

Anyway, I'll assume that you'll ignore my advice and won't be telling your union reps you want a 14-16 teaching boycott in colleges.

So, for those of you who haven't taught school children before, here's a glossary of terms you will need to understand if you are to have fruitful discussions with your compulsory education colleagues about the "vocationally inclined" little darlings who will soon be coming your way.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). A condition which allows pupils to behave like chimpanzees. EBD. (Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.) A polite term for delinquency.

Challenging behaviour. Previously known as bad behaviour. The challenge is to get through the day without clipping little ShaneJade around the ear.

Truancy. A big problem, because absent pupils can get involved in drugs, violence and "inappropriate relationships" with adults in the town centre instead of at school.

Assault. An attack on a teacher by a child.

Part of growing up An attack on a child by a child.

Obesity A condition caused by eating in school canteens.

Good luck with it.

Email us: FErret@tes.co.uk

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