Letters Extra: Market forces or discrimination?

22nd November 2002 at 00:00

'Wipe the slate clean' by Sara Bubb (TES 81102) shows clearly that 'market forces' now permit blatant discrimination.

It's not the fault of my two Geography NQTs that their subject isn't on the 'shortlist' of those who will be able to get their loans repaid, yet they will have no option other than to stand enviously by and watch their colleagues and friends (well, for the moment anyway!) rake in extra cash, buy new cars and have more expensive holidays because they are maths or science NQTs.

What nonsense this is, and how incredibly de-motivating! First, their 'shortage subject' colleagues were awarded bigger 'golden hellos', then they found that the same people were given extra recruitment points, and were even paid over the summer break.

So, having worked as PGCE students at our school last year, they even worked during the summer holiday to try to earn money in order to pay off some of their loan.

Oh well, they thought, at least we'll be on an even footing when the real job starts, but guess what, yet another kick in the teeth was waiting for them! Even though they work just as hard as their colleagues, they are effectively getting paid less.

Just how is this latest idea supposed to attract students to consider becoming Geography, History or RS teachers? Oh yes, I think I've worked it out - we don't need them, because they're not 'shortage subjects'.

Not yet, maybe, but they will be once recruitment in these subjects falls due to the relatively poor remuneration awarded to them.

Well done - whose brilliant scheme was this? Why don't they start paying men more to become primary school teachers - after all, market forces should show this to be the answer to the shortage of males in that sector?

Oh no, that would be discrimination wouldn't it. Sorry, but personally I can't see the difference. Somebody please explain - not to me, to my NQTs.

Matt Hewison
Head of Geography
Cheam High School
Chatsworth Road

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