30 years ago

17th June 2005 at 01:00
Do we detect a note of irony in the Scottish Diary's report that "at least 90 teachers from the US have been sufficiently attracted by the prospect of teaching in well-equipped schools amid Lanarkshire's undulating acres of countryside to apply to the General Teaching Council for exceptional admission to the register" (TESS, June 20, 1975)?

Lanarkshire's April raid on the north-eastern United States was greeted with some scepticism by some who saw it as a last jaunt before regionalisation, or at best an expensive gimmick. But according to the New York Times, the recruiting team received some 600 enquiries - many from out-of-work teachers.

Lanarkshire provided brochures extolling the county's modern housing, undulating acres of countryside and high standard of materials and equipment in schools. Those who enquired were worried about unemployment or were dissatisfied with . . . lack of professional freedom and unruly pupils.

One teacher quoted was particularly impressed by the freedom Scottish teachers have to work out their own curricula. Another couple wanted out of New York because it was dirty, noisy and crime-ridden. In schools, said the husband, disruptive pupils got 90 per cent of the attention, and the courts had tied the hands of school administrators when it came to dealing with assaults and vandalism. This couple, the New York Times said, came away more than willing to take a combined $9,000 drop in salary . . .

Though Lanarkshire confined its efforts to the north-east, the GTC have had applications from as far west as Colorado - thus has the fame of Lanarkshire spread.

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