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Stop whining and enjoy the challenge

I am in my ninth year as a headteacher of a large comprehensive school. The job is undoubtedly stressful at times and I work long hours. At the same time it also offers challenge, interest and some fulfilment.

Above all I do appreciate that I earn about Pounds 34,000 more a year than an entrant to the profession and around Pounds 25,000 more than a teacher at the top of the standard scale. Most of these teachers are in the classroom for 34 periods out of 40, facing challenges and pressures that may be different from mine but are no less intense; nothing is as tiring and draining as the workload of a conscientious and dedicated classroom teacher.

In this context I am just embarrassed by the whining of the National Association of Headteachers and some of its secondary members in their piteous complaints about how bad life is (TES, June 16). Everyone knows what a headteacher's job entails and you get paid very well for it. If you don't want the pressure don't take the job; there are still plenty of good people around who do want the challenge involved and are happy to enjoy the monetary rewards that go with it.

The role of the headteacher is crucial. There is plenty of evidence that good headteachers can move schools forward in quite a striking fashion.

They do, however, depend on their staff and headteachers should surely remember the privileges and advantages of their job and that they do not have a monopoly on overwork and stress in the education world of today.

TONY STEPHENS Headteacher Mill Hill School Peasehill Ripley North Yorkshire

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