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Letters extra : Workload reform chief proposes classes at 80

Sir,

Sitting in an excellent local conference on Friday, I was quietly reading the front page of this week's TES when a colleague sitting next to me exclaimed, "Teaching classes when I'm 80!". She had obviously read last week's TES front page. Other colleagues clustered around and an amusing discussion about recruitment in the light of this form of retention ensued.

The fact that a small but significant mistake was made and instantly believed, even if only for a moment or two, gave me a sense of dj vu. I was transported back to an earlier era with a different political party holding sway in government when testing was being introduced. A bit of cut and paste on a TES article of the time produced the shock headline "Testing at birth" and a brief fictional article that expanded on this. This too was instantly believed by colleagues when stuck up on the staffroom noticeboard.

The old adage, "What goes around comes around", still holds true but the turnaround seems much faster than your quote from John Bangs about Victorian times would imply. I continue to ask myself if the government did change in May 1997, in spite of David Miliband's skilful attempts at the GTC Conference to be the Teachers' Friend.

Cate Thomas St Albans Herts

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