Helpline

27th October 2000 at 01:00
Views that vex

WE have an RE teacher who is allowing his own pro-life views on abortion to distort the balance in his lessons, provoking parental complaints. How should the school respond?

THE RE syllabus no doubt requires that issues such as abortion should be discussed with a fair representation of the range of opinions. I suspect that abortion is one of the most difficult for some teachers whose views, they would probably argue, were more than just opinions.

They must, however, conform both with the syllabus and with the policy set down by the governing body. A teacher with sincere misgivings might be assisted by the education authority's RE adviser. If the presentation continues to be seriously unbalanced, the head has the duty to give a warning and, if this is unheeded, to consider disciplinary action.

Ageism at work

AT three schools where I have worked, there have been equal opportunities policie, but at those and other schools, I have encountered job specifications with a preferred age-range for applicants. I have also been turned down for promotion on the grounds of age. Is this unlawful discrimination?

I HAVE no doubt that the practices you describe are discriminatory, but they are not unlawful. Equal opportunities legislation provides remedies for discrimination on the grounds of gender, race or religion, but age is not included. Many people would like to see this changed and perhaps it will happen in the future.

Some employers actually prefer more mature staff but I suspect that schools sometimes hold back because the teachers' pay structure means that the older generation is more expensive.

Send your problems and queries to Archimedes, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or e-mail them to helpline@tes.co.uk. Archimedes cannot enter into personal correspondence


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