A demanding job

6th March 2009 at 00:00

Christine Blower ("Today it's time to take stock of all the hours we give", February 27) strikes an important note that will be well supported in its intentions by all of us in teaching. Everyone is entitled to a life-work balance. However, I believe she made three significant omissions.

First, teaching is not a clock-in, clock-out, workbench occupation that can be put down and picked up. Teaching is a demanding job requiring planning, delivery, assessment and ongoing evaluation.

Second - and understandable from a representative of the NUT - she omits to mention the efforts taken by schools since the workforce agreement to redesignate administrative tasks away from teachers. Some, such as mine, have foreshortened Fridays so all staff have the opportunity of getting away early. I'm sure we will continue to devise ways to cut unnecessary workload, but the job will remain a demanding one.

Finally, Christine omits to reveal, in her nostalgic remembrance of the 1970s and 1980s, how hit-and-miss so much about schools was then. Yes, the opportunities to be involved in curriculum development were good, but they were not consistent and relied on people volunteering to be involved. Many students were left to drift and overall standards were inconsistent.

Barry Wratten, Headteacher, Churchill Community Foundation School and sixth form centre, north Somerset.

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