Negotiating the future;Letter

7th May 1999 at 01:00
WHILE I am certain that she would not have wished it to be so, it may be that in the content of her interview ("EIS will do deal if Labour wins", TESS, April 30) Elizabeth Maginnis has generated her own educational epitaph; something along the lines of "She pretended that the Millennium Review was to improve teacher recruitment, but instead she was intent on forcing the Educational Institute of Scotland into a disastrous agreement".

It was both timely and ironic therefore that your lead story ("We can't get the staff") should state in such detailed and unequivocal terms that the teacher recruitment problem is not hypothetical and is not in the future. Instead it's real, it's here and it's impacting adversely on Scottish education. Whatever the outcome of the Scottish elections, locally and nationally, it is now clear that the winners must cease what has amounted to toying playfully with Scottish teachers.

Education is consistently high on any measure of the priorities of the Scottish electorate, and the Scottish electorate will expect those whom they have just elected to recognise the scale of the teacher recruitment problem which is now unfolding, and to be seen to address this seriously. This can only be achieved through elected representatives joining the EIS representatives at the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee in seeking a negotiated solution which will attract into teaching the able, gifted and committed recruits who are essential for the future well-being of the education service.

Thinly veiled threats to disband completely the present negotiating structure have no relevance whatsoever in this context, and continuation of their use as a crude battering ram will be seen as nothing less than irresponsible and reckless. Even newly elected councillors and MSPs cannot afford to allow themselves to be burdened with such baggage.

Peter Dickson, Ardlui Gardens, Milngavie

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