Listen out for hollow laughter

15th September 1995 at 01:00
There are perhaps two reactions to the news that redundant executives are to be retrained as teachers, (TES, September 1). First, a certain annoyance that schools should be seen as appropriate dumping grounds for executives who have run out of steam. Tired old teachers, it is implied, continue to fail so the ethos of, say, a privatised monopoly will bring a breath of something new into schools.

The sounds of hollow laughter will be heard when the executives actually make it into schools. The cultural change will be traumatic for them - no special parking space, no personal telephone, no secretarial assistance, no tea lady coming down the corridor, certainly no deference from the clients and the Armani suit will look out of place. Unless it is assumed that the new arrivals will be whisked into the realms of senior management since they possess the entrepreneurial skills deemed so necessary.

Redundant teachers might of course quite like to transfer to the business environment. They wouldn't be too greedy for the perks since they would be conditioned not to expect more. They would bring the ethos of countless assemblies and personal and social education lessons to reform the morality of capitalism.

To be fair, the Teacher Training Agency's secretary did see the exchange as a two-way street, but the rush out of the classroom by teachers was perhaps not what he envisages.

NICHOLAS J TYLDESLEY Director of History Birley School Sheffield

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