It's grim down South

26th January 2001 at 00:00
The Scottish teaching unions are to be congratulated on securing a 23 per cent pay rise for their members - a move that leaves us south of the border gawping in amazement.

The teacher-shortage crisis (like the police and the nurses) has been a long time coming. This Government, like its predecessor, prefers a policy equivalent to sticking Elastoplast to the Titanic rather than facing up to the real issue - the need to pay teachers a professional salary.

The School Teachers' Review Body has similarly failed in the face ofan emerging crisis, preferring to follow government guidelines. The third element of blame should be apportioned to our lame unions who bray far more than they act.

Scotland is short of 4,000 teachers, England short of 4,500. The new starting salary for Scotland will be pound;18,000, rising to more than pound;35,000 for an experienced classroom teacher. Anyone want to make a wild guess at who will resolve their teacher shortage first?

Tom Cunliffe

Head of Expressive Arts

Falmer school

Lewes Road, Brighton

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