Separation will push down pay

23rd June 2006 at 01:00
David Thomas (TES Cymru, June 9) does his cause no good by engaging in an anti-English rant in response to genuine concern over the separation of pay and conditions between England and Wales.

The first 19 years of my life were spent in England and education was as much a right there as it is here in Wales. It is nonsense to compare fee-paying school numbers to argue that in England education is a privilege. Surely this is an argument in favour of the status quo as it illustrates that there is more money in England.

Wales is a low-pay economy and separation would inevitably lead to a stagnation in teacher pay. And Welsh schools are not competitive? Where has Mr Thomas been? Since local management of schools, secondaries have conducted both overt and covert operations to get pupils past the front doors.

Mr Thomas speaks of a mythical land of Englandandwales, but it is the mythical Wales that he believes in. Our schools still do tests to inform statutory, end-of-key-stage levels, and their working conditions are no better than in England. Indeed, since devolution, they have got worse.

Much as I deplore English schools scrabbling after specialist status, at least this is new money. In Wales, when there is new money on the table, our education secretary uses the flawed economic indicator of free school meals to ensure that most schools do not see a penny of it.

Mr Thomas puts dogma before common sense. In his letter, Plaid Cymru comes before the welfare of his teaching colleagues. As a voter in Montgomeryshire he will not be getting my vote.

Neil Butler Welshpool high school, Powys

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