Prodigal teacher welcomed home

5th May 2000 at 01:00
LAST year, she grabbed the headlines with a tirade against the Government's performance pay plans. This year, she is helping to implement them.

Step forward, Sarah Fryer, the downtrodden Buckinghamshire teacher who tugged at many heart strings 12 months ago when she announced she was quitting the profession in frustration at excessive workloads and bureaucracy.

Miss Fryer, then 28 and deputy head of maths at Sir William Borlase's school, Marlow, told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference she was tired of her 60-hour working week.

The Government's pay reforms were the final straw, she said, adding: "With league tables and performance-related pay it is beginning to imply that children are robots, not miniature human beings to nurture. I want a life."

She did leave the classroomto "get a life", spending several months travelling. And although the trip was to New Zealand, it still involved a Damascene conversion.

For this week The TES found her working at the Department for Education and Employment. Her job? Implementing the Government's Green Paper policies, which include performance pay.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, she would not grant us an interview, and the department was unable to give details of her salary. But Education Secretary David Blunkett needed no encouragement to glory in her apparent U-turn: "She decided she couldn't beat us, so she joined us," he said.

Any like-minded teachers could consider applying to the personnel department, Department for Education and Employment, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT.

Warwick Mansell

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