'Heartfelt' adieu paints too rosy a picture

What a disappointment that Gerard Kelly, in his final editorial, chose to paint a picture of teaching in Britain as never having been in better health ("Not a long goodbye, but a heartfelt one", 30 August).

"Unions press on with their forlorn strikes", he writes (indeed, we are committed to striving to maintain our rights to fair pay, pensions and conditions of service). "The quality of recruits is phenomenally high" (however, applications for teaching courses have dropped significantly over the past five years). "The pay isn't bad" (it has been stagnant for three years). "Schools have never been better equipped" (which areas does he have in mind?). "Teachers deserve better" (correct).

Teachers, as I know from more than 35 years in the profession, are indeed the "natural optimists" that Mr Kelly describes them as. In light of this, perhaps now we will be presented with an editor who is better informed and willing to discuss the key issues in education without resorting to branding the NASUWT, the sister teaching union of the NUT, as "the country's most curmudgeonly union (with) the world's most unmelodious acronym".

"Readers will have to make do with well-intentioned prejudice": let's hope not.

Fred Greaves, Division secretary, Surrey NUT.

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