Letters extra: We need more supply teachers

11th May 2001 at 01:00

Three cheers - money available for real teachers to look into real issues at real schools ( TES , April 14). As a parent governor at a secondary school I welcome the opportunities offered. Just one small point. While our highly skilled and professional staff are involved in researchnbsp;who will be teaching our children? Even in the leafy suburbs of North Somerset we have a real supply problem - heaven help those in inner cities.

Releasing staff for professional development has serious implications for the delivery of the curriculum. With the huge number of funding streams available for an ever wider variety of initiatives the focus is, increasingly, shifted from classroom teaching and to other tasks.

On an NGfL steering group recently, composed largely of serving teachers attending twilight sessions, I could sympathise with one member whose heartfelt response to a discussion about budgeting for upgrades was: "I'm just a teacher. I just want to teach!" Of course, she can't - she has to manage ICT for the school as well! (And being in the primary sector she has precious little none-contact time as it is).

So my plea to the Government is - get your act together! If you want staff out of the classrooms raising their professional skills and widening their "vision" (and I think every teacher deserves that) you have to ensure that there are enough skilled supply teachers to fill the gaps.

Linda Allchurch
Parent Governor, Weston super Mare, North Somerset

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