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No room for geriatric supply

Having just read a back issue of The TESS highlighting a survey of probationers' employment, as well as other related articles and letters, may I mention an issue almost overlooked but for a passing phrase in a probationer's letter: namely, retired teachers supplementing their pensions doing supply work. That many in this group are volunteer retirees, having negotiated substantial "golden handshakes", adds pepper to the pot.

Not only are these golden-handshakers preventing new graduates from obtaining valuable classroom experience, many compound the problem by taking classes they are not qualified to teach, and some even morph into permanent staff temporarily covering for maternity leave and the like. All this is undertaken with the blessing of the head, the local authority and the taxman.

Long-term teacher absenteeism needs a fairer solution than an auxiliary corps of burnt-out geriatrics waiting in the wings for a phone call.

George B Anderson (retiree) Elliothill Street, Dunfermline.

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