Counting the real cost of redundancies

17th February 1995 at 00:00
We are about to see another round of redundancies, with the resulting increase in anxieties all round. The greatest pain will be felt by those unfortunate enough to lose their jobs, but there will also be a less obvious cost for those still in post.

The relief of still having a job will be tempered by an increase in pressure, some self-generated, to do more work. There are already teachers who walk out of school bowed down by even more shopping bags full of marking, clutching on to this substantial justification for continued employment. They are the ones who will drive themselves to further excesses of preparation, assessment and frantic activity. Such workaholics may do themselves and their families harm, but at first sight may seem to be a great boon to the children and school. As usual appearances can be deceptive. Successful schools depend on the subtleties of team work, not all of which are immediately obvious. Over-anxious teachers create stress for colleagues, disrupt team work and may have a negative effect on children. When the sense of enjoyment is lost, a school suffers immeasurably, but not everything worthwhile can be measured.

With fewer teachers in schools, there will be more work for the remaining teachers, but in this case, headteachers should consider that more may not necessarily be better, and plan accordingly.

BOB ASTON

35 Bayswater Drive

Rainham

Kent

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