Example of ageism in action;Letter

2nd April 1999 at 01:00
the comments made by Colin Broomfield ("Older staff challenge school hierarchies", TES, March 19) require redress. Mr Broomfield displays the very preconceptions and stereotyping that we have to face in our search for a fair appraisal of our job applications. He makes sweeping generalisations based on his experiences of two employees.

Of course there are mature entrants to teaching who have difficulties with classroom control, just as many, if not more, young newly-qualified teachers experience problems in this area. Mature entrants are frequently provided with less support and mentoring than their younger counterparts. Stories of young newly-qualified teachers "walking off the job" after a couple of weeks abound. This is more an indication of shortcomings in teacher selection and training than an indictment of mature entrants. Many members of the Association of Teachers Against Ageism can provide documented evidence of reactions from parents that are the exact opposite of those reported by Mr Broomfield.

His perception that scientists and engineers do not work in "social environments" shows how far out of touch he is with the world of work and indicates precisely why we need a proportion of industrially and commercially experienced people in our classrooms.

Steve Jackson Chairman Association of Teachers Against Ageism, 5 The Villas Great Hatfield, East Yorkshire

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