More qualified staff wanted

18th September 1998 at 01:00
Your editorial last week "Wrong reaction from the GTC" (TESS, September 11) completely misses the point. Not only that but it does so in a dangerously misleading way.

The General Teaching Council welcomes the injection of additional resources and the extra help in primary classrooms which that will mean. It insists, however, that classroom assistants should have no involvement in teaching duties. There is nothing narrow-minded, exclusive or curmudgeonly about that view. It is one which every teacher in Scotland would share.

As you say in your editorial, the General Teaching Council for Scotland was "created in an era of unqualified staff" and now has a reputation for ensuring that all entrants to the profession are suitably qualified. That may, in your own words, be a "purist approach" but the profession would quite rightly expect no less. Why should such an attitude to entry qualifications be regarded as "outdated"? The teaching profession has a right to question the idea that anyone can walk into a classroom and be involved, for instance, in the teaching of reading and mathematics.

What the council would really like to see is more qualified teachers and smaller classes. Is that also "knee-jerk defensiveness"?

Ivor Sutherland. Registrar. General Teaching Council for Scotland. Edinburgh.

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