"The Government needs to leave us alone for the next five years";What the teachers say;Interview;Elizabeth Hume

10th September 1999 at 01:00
Elizabeth Hume, headteacher, Grove primary school, Consett, Durham.

"I don't think I'd use the help-line but some might. I would talk things over with my husband and son. I also discuss things with my staff or chair of governors.

"I'm looking forward to the start of term very much. I missed the children and I'm ready to have them back. It's going to be very hard work because we are in a very poor area. But the children are absolutely delightful.

"Work is very demanding and encroaches into your home life - which teaching always has - but the current workload is ridiculous. The Government needs to leave us alone for the next five years.

Joanne Wright, religious education and English teacher, The Latymer School, north London.

"I am quite cynical about lots of things that the Government are doing but I actually think that the helpline might be useful. But I would talk to my head of department. If I was feeling bad about my job I would talk to my husband. I can't envisage myself using it.

"I don't have any problems about coming back after the holiday. It is tiring. But I try to work through lunchtime so I don't have to do it after work. There is a lot of paperwork.

"I teach 300 children. Keeping up with them, preparing classes takes so much time and there is so much paperwork on top of that. It comes back to being able to manage your time."

Maths teacher Deborah Price, who is just starting her fourth year in her first job at Hampstead secondary school in North London, finds the run-up to GCSE and A-level exams more stressful than the start of the school year.

A stress helpline may well prove a useful for some teachers - but "I don't know if I would use it personally," she said.

"We have a good support structure here at the school. There are several mentoring things for new teachers, and you've also got your department, your line manager, and head of year (to turn to)," she said.

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