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25th February 2000 at 00:00
A London head's views on job-sharing (TES, February 11) have struck a chord. Here are three more contributions to the debate

DOUBTS DISAPPEAR

AS A head I had until recently been reluctant to consider a job-share. When two of my (excellent) staff came to me with a proposal, I had to think carefully.

The two presented me with a package of times, dates, planning arrangements and a commitment to being at parents' evenings. It has been a great success for the school, and particularly the children who have a fresh, lively teacher all week.

Like everything to do with education, it is not the system or law but the people who make it work (or not!)

David Phillips

Moorfield junior school, Stockport

MANAGER STRAIN

MANY large secondaries can and should plan timetables to accommodate job-shares. But there is a real management difficulty at primary level, no matter how competent and committed job-sharers are. Primaries rarely have the funds for the weekly half-day overlap time necessary for job-sharers to work together effectively. The disruption can have a damaging impact on young child's development and education.

While it is important to facilitate part-time working and job-shares - where we can - we firmly believe that at primary level, job-sharing should not be imposed on young children, for whom our school community works hard to provide stability.

Mike Richardson

Chair, Lambeth Governors Forum

Address supplied

NASTY MOMENT

I WAS previously head of a school in Kirklees where we rejected a job-share request because we did not feel that it was in the school's best interests (because of staff training, ages of children, and budget, among other reasons).

Our decision was supported by the education authority. However, the teacher took a constructive dismissal case to a tribunal. The teacher won on technicalities, but the amount paid by the authority was small.

Still, it was a nasty experience for all concerned - I was cross-

examined for 90 minutes and had to keep justifying our decision.

Alison O'Brien

Regional education adviser (north west), National Society for the

Prevention of Cruelty to Children


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