Go for old

12th September 1997 at 01:00
The advice given to George Curzon (TES Letters, September 5) by Croydon that "schools can get newly-qualified 23-year-olds much cheaper" than older entrants is untrue.

The number of spine points to which older and younger entrants have an entitlement under the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document 1987 is identical. Governors can award extra full or half points, up to a total of seven full points, for relevant experience and it is clearly older entrants who are more likely to qualify for these. But unless older entrants choose to price themselves out of the market by demanding discretionary experience points (which is a matter for them) it is not true that they come automatically with a higher price-tag.

Because returners and serving teachers retain their right to mandatory experience points acquired in the past, returners and older teachers can actually be up to seven points more expensive than a mature entrant.

Mr Curzon noted national efforts to improve recruitment and I dare say he would make the ideal employee in the right school. But governors must be thankful that, in spite of national shortages, we can select the people best suited to our particular school, taking into account whether we believe they are suitable for teaching at all. For most teachers, a PGCE may be a minimum qualification, but it is not the only thing that governors look for.

PAUL WALKER 5 Chapel Barn Close Hailsham East Sussex

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