New Labour - jury still out;Opinion

1st May 1998 at 01:00
One year into the Labour Government teachers appear as discontented as they were under successive Tory administrations, judging by last weekend's Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association conference (page 6).

Many are desperate to leave and reforms have yet to touch most classrooms. At best, the fresh injections of Government cash have staved off the worst cuts.

A batch of attainment targets - the latest in a long list of new initiatives - are unlikely to mollify classroom teachers. They continue to complain of stress, excessive workloads, constant reforms and diminishing pay - when more pupils are passing exams and teachers have never been more accountable.

As The TESS has revealed over recent weeks, graduates are turning away from secondary teaching. This is hardly a surprise. Other professions reward more, have less hassle and higher esteem. Before long ministers will have to admit that substantially higher pay for teachers is long overdue. Let us hope the next phase of reform convinces many in the classroom that the triple E mantra is really at the heart of the Blair Government.

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