Although setting out a good case for a change in Government's attitude to teachers and a call for better management relationships in schools, Libby Purves (September 14) does well to sound a note of caution at the end of her article. There are good reasons why short-term working in schools is not to be desired.
Students deserve better than a succession of teachers staying for only a few terms. They need continuity and staff committed to their long-term interests.
Teachers need to experience the ethos and working patterns of their school and be there long enough to feel some loyalty to it.
Heads need continuity too if they are to plan ahead. There is also a greater incentive to solve management and relationship difficulties if staff stay. Teachers should take union advice rather than walking away from unacceptable situations.
If teachers work for local authorities and opt in to the Teachers Pension Scheme they are entitled to a pension based on their contributions. Supply Agencies are not members of the TPS and so teachers working for them have to make pension provision through a private scheme. This never delivers the same level of benefit as a scheme where employers also pay contributions.
Just as the NHS cannot function efficiently with a majority of bank nurses, so schools also need stable staff and we should establish the right climate in which staff can be encouraged to stay and contribute effectively.