Redundant before we even begin

10th November 1995 at 00:00
I am writing to applaud the sympathetic article "Going, going, gone" which highlighted redundancies of teachers, in particular those of Zoe Image and Fiona Collins (TES, October 20).

While redundancy must be an unenviable position to be in, at least these teachers can console themselves with having had a taste of the best, most demanding job in the world. For that reason, I am envious. As a mature newly-qualified teacher, I find it infuriating that the Government continues to train primary teachers en masse, when there is nothing but a very thin county vacancy list awaiting them. Even the vacancies advertised are sometimes earmarked for the lucky supply teacher.

Very often, mature students give up careers, put up with financial hardship, and put family and friends on hold, in order to realise their dream of becoming a teacher.

Being accepted on to a degree course is in itself stressful for many. Will I cope? Will my family cope? Will my marriage cope? It is a time of great change and self-realisation. We realise that we are no longer just "the wife", or "mum", we do actually exist.

(The Cartesian theory "I think, therefore I am", is suddenly emblazoned in our minds in bright fluorescent colours, and stays there.) We take on a new lease of life (often to the dismay of our partners), and we begin to exude our new-found confidence in all that we do. Some partners have found this difficult to cope with. They cannot adapt and change to accommodate this new image. So then, inevitably, some marriages end. There were about six marriages that ended in divorce on the course that I was on, which seems ironic, as there were about the same amount of younger people who got married.

Those of us who are unsuccessful initially at finding a job are, in effect, redundant before we have started.

Competition for jobs in Britain is hotting up, not only from our own teachers, but from 1,088 graduated Scottish teachers, as permanent teaching posts there are virtually non-existent.

Can't the Government do something - what is the point of training so many teachers? Maybe one answer might be to freeze teacher training for 12 months and redeploy the capital to the classrooms. In the meantime, if there is anyone out there in need of a good, mature, NQT, I can recommend one.

C BIGSBY 61 Milton Avenue Eaton Ford St Neots, Cambridgeshire

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