New deal for all?;Letter

19th February 1999 at 00:00
THERE HAS been considerable comment in the press in recent days from both teaching unions and individuals about the new proposals for pay and conditions of service in the profession. Nearly all the responses have been critical of various aspects of the "new deal", but to date I have seen no mention of what may well be a key stumbling block.

The Education Minister and the local authorities have made much of the "riches beyond wildest dreams" awaiting the pound;35,000 per annum "superteacher". But will this status be available to teachers in all departments of a secondary school, or will it only be on offer to those who teach key subjects?

I am sure that existing principal teachers of art, business studies, etc will be waiting in a state of some trepidation to hear the answer from management to what is a key question. I cannot see how small departments with perhaps only two members of staff and a more limited number of pupils, in terms of throughput, could warrant superteacher status in the eyes of management.

If superteacher status is to be open to all departments in the secondary school, then there would be far more applications in total, I suspect, than the available figure of 300 mentioned. What would be the reaction of the large departments if, say, only two superteachers per school were appointed, and they came from the ranks of the music and religious education departments?

I think it is time for the Government and authorities to give clear answers to the genuine concerns of all secondary teachers who might wish to apply for superteacher status.

Gordon M Lind 25 Irvine Crescent, Coatbridge

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