Double teachers' money

16th May 1997 at 01:00
As a Tory-voting expatriate teacher of 10 years' standing, may I offer my congratulations to new Labour for their tremendous electoral success. Eighteen years of Conservative rule have obviously blunted the voting public's memory of the socialist policies that nearly bankrupted the country and practically forced the cancellation of the nation's educational programme (the three-day week in the early 1970s).

Let us hope that new Labour will offer education a "New Deal", although that seems highly unlikely. At the core of the debate should be placed the professionals. I, and many of my colleagues, moved abroad because we wanted to work in an environment where teachers are still respected.

Despite the hype and political posturing of Tony Blair and David Blunkett, it seems very unlikely to me that this situation will be changed under the new Government and teachers will once again be treated in the shoddy fashion that we have come to expect.

What is needed seems so obvious to someone outside the country. Teaching has not attracted for a generation the type of people who are going to make education work. This is because the teachers are not paid enough. What the Labour government needs to do is at least double the amount an experienced and successful teacher can expect to earn.

In the past, giving money to education has meant money for buildings, books, computers and security. All these things are important, but when has a politician ever asked what is the point of a room full of computers if there is not someone in every school across the country able and keen to teach with them?

Double teachers' pay and recreate a buoyant, ambitious profession.

ROBERT PAGE, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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