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Professionally speaking...

So, Stephen Byers says that if we are to work extra hours in the evenings, early in the mornings and at weekends we must be rewarded and treated as professionals, (TES, January 23).

Apart from the obvious sense of outrage that every teacher in the country must feel about further enforced encroachments into leisure time, there is an obvious lack of understanding of the word "professional".

True professionalism in teaching is not about working even longer and more anti-social hours, it is about teachers being more involved in leadership, working with colleagues in consultancy roles and sharing expertise and decision-making in situations relevant to their pupils.

What Mr Byers unwittingly (or perhaps not) is talking about is not professionalism at all, it is "intensification". This refers to teachers having less discretion to exercise their professional judgment, carrying out routine and de-skilled work by adopting step-by-step instructional methods and complying with imposed directives.

We will not be seduced, Mr Byers, into believing we are becoming more professional and meekly allowing ourselves to agree to further exploitation through your plan for a "flexible" contract. We know we already do a professional job and we could do it better with less interference.


Headteacher Holmescarr junior school Grange Lane, Rossington Doncaster

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