Don't count on it

6th April 2001 at 01:00
YOU really couldn't make it up. Last month 6,800 schools had a rare bit of good news: the Department for Education and Employment was giving them hard cash, to be shared among staff, for rapidly raising standards. There were possible pitfalls: the original American scheme foundered upon division of the spoils. Dedicated teachers in other schools feel kicked in the teeth.

But then came a spectacular own goal. The department which invented numeracy tests for trainee teachers and insists on C grade maths GCSE for all new recruits has fouled u on the sums front, and given the cash to 300 schools which weren't among the most improved. Oops. Everyone keeps the cash, but not the glory. Some schools are so cross they're sending the money back.

Ministers must be praying that different officials checked the eligibility of 200,000 teachers to cross the threshold for a pound;2,000 rise. Research for one union suggests 95 per cent of its members who applied will get the cash. That's a lot of angry teachers if someone got their sums wrong. And they won't be sending the money back.

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