A plea to preserve teachers' sanity;Letter

29th May 1998 at 01:00
As someone who will be expected to teach the literacy hour next year, I was pleased to read the endorsement that Helen Webb (Letters, TES, May 15) gave to the project.

Of course it is encouraging to read how much progress her class had made over the past few months. However the question that arose from her letter was: at what cost?

Currently I, along with many colleagues nationwide, am taking a form of industrial action that is designed to give teachers more time to teach and with it a little more time at home - to live! However, Helen Webb apparently promotes a virtue in giving up her Saturday evenings to prepare all the work for this new scheme.

Presumably the rest of the weekend is spent in preparing the rest of her teaching, marking and writing reports and so on. I was appalled at the presumed workload increase and assault on one's own time and breathing space.

No professionally teacher could object to a new - but tried and tested - schememethod of working that would suit every practitioner and pupil. It would enhance reading skills and further the education of our pupils.

The prescriptive nature of the scheme remains a concern to many teachers.

There is also the question of whether the scheme is sustainable for the entire primary career of our children, or will boredom set in after a few years?

Questions remains over adequate resourcing and sufficient time to prepare for the scheme. Currently few teachers have gone on training courses. There are only two months to the end of the summer term. Will there be enough time to organise and deliver the literacy hour next September? I believe that the scheme deserves a fair trial and I would wish it to succeed, but not at the cost of the sanity and lives of teachers.

Eric Skyte

President, Surrey Federation, NASUWT, 171 Craddocks Avenue, Ashtead, Surrey

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