Heads asks Boris to let teachers travel free

14th November 2008 at 00:00
It would make it easier to recruit in the capital, says NAHT

Heads' leaders are to lobby Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to provide all London teachers with free public transport.

The measure is part of a package of proposals that the National Association of Head Teachers believes is necessary to halt the school leadership recruitment crisis that it says is severe in the capital.

It will tell the mayor that the high cost of public transport and the congestion charge is discouraging good teachers, and therefore potential heads, from working in London schools. Mick Brookes, the NAHT's general secretary, said: "There are particular difficulties with transport in London and we think it would be a good boost at very little cost to improve recruitment in London. I don't see why it shouldn't be feasible."

Police officers, the under-18s and over-60s, the disabled and war veterans already benefit from free public transport in London. But a spokesman for Boris Johnson's office said responsibility for funding an extension of the scheme to teachers would rest with individual boroughs.

"If London councils think this is something they would like to take forward the Mayor would be pleased to discuss it with them," he said. "He has great respect for the capital's teachers."

The association is also calling for higher pay for teachers in the capital, improvements to the Chartered London Teacher Scheme and a "building programme designed to lift many London primaries from their Dickensian heritage".

Funding for the Primary Capital Programme building scheme for the next two years were announced by the Department for Children Schools and Families this week.

But Mr Brookes said: "We are concerned that funding for new school buildings is slowing down. That has happened for secondaries and funding is pretty well non-existent for primaries."

Figures released in January showed that 37 per cent of the 2,100 primaries that advertised for a head during the previous year failed to find the right person first time around. It was the fourth consecutive year that had happened.

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