Sharing won't cut the supply demand

6th June 2008 at 01:00
Never before have I been so upset as to feel it necessary to comment on one of your articles
Never before have I been so upset as to feel it necessary to comment on one of your articles. I refer to "Supply teachers 'should be banned from school'" (TES, May 30), which suggested that, in a teacher's absence, pupils could be dispersed around other classes. My school used to do this and it was a disaster for the following reasons.

- Dispersed pupils often need large amounts of attention, so other pupils have to complete a "holding" activity until they are sorted out.

- Dispersed pupils often arrive in already full classrooms, causing disruption as extra chairs are found to squeeze around cramped tables.

- Some classes have been carefully arranged with regard to behavioural issues. New arrivals often upset the balance.

It is clear that Professor David Burghes hasn't been in a classroom for a long time. His suggestion is idiotic. Many small schools would need to accept five or six extra pupils per class.

Instead, schools should be rewarded for building links with a bank of quality supply staff. And local authorities should encourage retiring teachers to consider supply teaching.

E Crocombe, Advanced skills teacher (mathematics), Ferndown Middle School, Dorset.

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