Failure on dismissal procedure

12th December 1997 at 00:00
More power to your elbow, Ted Wragg! (TES, November 21). A survey of "incompetence in the classroom" is long overdue. It is a failing of both government and unions that a fast-track dismissal procedure should have been created without first conducting such a survey. It is all the more a failing because having reformed the procedure, there is still no agreed definition of what a failing teacher is.

What an interesting paragraph about the outcomes of these painful proceedings. "In most cases the teacher resigned, retired or moved on". Surely this needs some investigation? It is no wonder the preliminary findings show that "victims" of the competency procedures blame those who make recourse to them for "wanting to get rid of them". Indeed, while failure in the classroom is defined by individual headteachers there will always be claims of "personality clash" and suggestions that new heads in particular are ousting experiencedexpensive colleagues to show their competence over financial matters, though not human resources.

Our previous Secretary of State commented on the need to tighten up early retirement provisions by reference to the cost of training teachers and then obtaining value for money from that investment. Surely the training of the "failing teacher" costs no less, and a properly provisioned supportive process to improve these colleagues would be a worthwhile further investment - and such a contrast to resignation, retirement, redundancy or illness which is too often the devastating and unnecessary human cost of the current ineffective process.

ANDY GARNER

31 Hatfield Road Ipswich

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