No reason to work in failing schools

30th March 2001 at 01:00
ON Friday I returned home from school after a gruelling week to hear that my husband's school had "won" an achievement award and that all his staff were to be rewarded for their hard work. That evening we met up with friends to hear that their schools too had received the awards with staff receiving bonuses. I don't begrudge any teacher extra money, but I wonder what incentive there can be for a teacher to join a "failing" school.

I was in an improving school. If I had stayed, no doubt I would have been rejoicing in an award. But I applied for a senior management position in a challenging school in special measures. After a year and a half of extremely hard work, the school was taken out of specialmeasures and I went on to gain a deputy headship at another school in special measures.

The staff have worked like Trojans in order to improve standards, enduring termly local education authority reviews, daunting HMI visits and the wrath of volatile parents. All this, in a school in a deprived area. We don't receive any award.

In this recruitment crisis all our teachers could leave this "failing" school, transfer to one with good results and inspection reports and then await such an award.

What incentives are there for dedicated teachers to join or stay in a school in special measures?

Alison Blant

Acting headteacher

127 Flemming Avenue

Leigh-on-Sea, Essex

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