Flexibility born of necessity

19th July 1996 at 01:00
With regard to "Aussies prove an asset in staff famine", (TES, July 5), let's keep things in perspective.

Yes, many of the Australasian-trained teachers working in London are "excellent", "enthusiastic" and "committed", but no more so than their UK-trained colleagues. If the article was suggesting that Australian-trained teachers are somehow better than UK-trained teachers, its argument was flawed. We are not comparing like with like.

Generally speaking, Australasian-trained teachers in London will be under 30, with around two years' teaching experience and willing to work on a supply basis. This "willingness" is out of necessity not "flexibility" - many Australasian-trained teachers are unable to take permanent posts as a condition of their work permits. Also, for many Australasians, teaching is a means to an end - saving money to travel. Far fewer UK-trained teachers with comparable experience choose to supply teach, preferring the full-time posts they are entitled to take up.

Our experience at Capstan Teachers is that the teacher's professional approach and experience is a better indicator of how they will cope with the challenges of supply work - irrespective of whether they were trained in Melbourne or Manchester.

RAY MERCER Director of operations Capstan Teachers Meridian House, Royal Hill London SE10.

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