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Letters Extra: Charles and his fish

Each week The TES is publishing bigger and bigger supplements, due to the growing number of teachers' post remaining unfilled; there are daily news reports of the stresses and strains of classroom life, and teachers leaving their jobs because of them, as well as students choosing not to become teachers because of the pay level.

And Charles Clarke, our illustrious Education Secretary, decides to freeze our pay for the next three years! Meanwhile, he decides to raise the pay of classroom assistants beyond the level of those of many experienced teachers.

What is he thinking of? Doesn't he envisage, and realise, the terrible resentment this will cause? Of course, classroom assistants should receive fair pay for the job they do, but at what risk if Mr Clarke's proposals are accepted?

Some of my colleagues have said they would seriously consider leaving teaching if that happened and they could become assistants with no planning, preparing or work after 3 pm!

On the same day (January 17) an annoucement was made about unskilled workers on the new Heathrow extension who may receive pound;32,000 as an incentive. Mr Clarke's announcement was like a smack in the face with a wet fish, and such an insult!

D C Bell (Mrs)
St James Close

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