Out of touch with the real world

16th July 2004 at 01:00
I know that Gary Brace (chief executive, General Teaching Council for Wales) was once a teacher. But his opinion given in Side view (TES Cymru, July 2) shows that he has entirely forgotten what happens when teachers cover a class in the secondary sector.

He declares: "What if a pupil asks a question which the assistant cannot answer?" As a history teacher I pride myself in having some knowledge of that and related subjects. However, I know little of science, less of maths and am woeful at languages.

I cover colleagues in all of these areas. So in response to a question from a pupil I would say: "I don't know." How's that Gary?

To many of us still teaching, the national workforce agreement is the answer to a prayer. To be able to concentrate on teaching without being called upon to cover is an enormous release.

Sadly, it has come under threat from the National Union of Teachers and UCAC, the Welsh-medium teachers' union, which are shamefully out of touch with their members. And now the GTCW - which was never in touch in the first place.

I call upon the Welsh Assembly government to fully fund the national agreement, headteachers to fully implement it, signatory unions to fully police it and, hope beyond hope, for the GTCW to fully dissolve itself.

Neil Butler

7 Uchel Dre

Kerry, Newtown, Powys

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