'I realise I cannot make a difference'

5th May 2000 at 01:00
FIVE years ago, 30-year-old Wilfred Matos became a teacher. Two weeks ago, he handed his notice in at Redbridge community school in Southampton.

He has a mortgage, has just become engaged and has no job to go to. His salary is just pound;18,303. Education Secretary David Blunkett last week urged him at the NASUWT conference to reconsider his decision, saying: "We need people who love teaching, who are committed and who want to do a good job." But Mr Matos, who regularly works 50 hours a week, was not convinced.

The final straw for him had been the Government's insistence of linking pupil performance to pay And he said: "Mr Blunkett made it more obvious that I had made the right decision."

This is some of what he told Mr Blunkett: "In the five years I have taught, I have loved teaching, I do love teaching. It's being a teacher that I have come to hate. Why do all society's ills have to fall on my shoulders? What has the Government ever done for me? Well, there's OFSTED, the Green Paper, class size, Woodhead, appraisal, target setting, longer days, the five term year, open-ended contract - - open to abuse anyway. I am tired, stressed. I am exhausted. I have realised that I can't make a difference."

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