Deputy leads union

22nd April 2005 at 01:00
With workload remaining high on the agenda for most teachers, UCAC's new president has a lot to deal with right now.

Gail Jones has taken on the role as members of the Welsh-speaking teachers'

union frantically try to figure out how to squeeze in non-contact time, while fretting about working until they are 65.

The 37-year-old will be juggling all of this with her day job as deputy head at Ysgol Gymraeg Brynmawr, a Welsh-medium primary in Blaenau Gwent.

Because of budgetary constraints, the local authority is not able to grant Ms Jones a fully-paid, year-long secondment. Instead, she has 34 days throughout the year to dedicate to the union.

Workload is a major concern, but she thinks pensions and the Westminster Government's plan to increase teachers' retirement age to 65 are the biggest worries.

"After the general election, we hope the Government will back down and renegotiate," she said.

"Teaching is a vocation, not just a job. You don't switch off. You would need so much energy to teach at 65."

Originally from the Amman Valley, in Carmarthenshire, Ms Jones started her career at Ysgol Rhymni, near Merthyr Tydfil, and for the past 10 years has been working at Ysgol Brynmawr. She was made deputy head in 1998.

She has been involved in UCAC since 1996 and is a long-time member of the executive.

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