Staff training chestnut roasted

2nd January 1998 at 00:00
I was amazed to find the BBC's education correspondent Mike Baker trotting out the old chestnut of "the debt owed by independent schools as a result of the state paying for the training of most of their staff" (TES, December 5).

What does he think happens in any other industry? It is appropriate for governments to train their workforce so the country can be more productive.

Independent schools contribute significantly to the country's balance of payments. They invest in the development of staff who contribute through their writing, examining and inspecting in the country as a whole.

Many of us in the independent and grant-maintained sectors have taught in local authority schools. I would welcome a rapprochement. However, having been kept out in the cold for many years, independent schools are more likely to respond to the hatchet-burying approach of school standards minister Stephen Byers than to lectures such as Mike Baker's.

WALTER JONES

Headteacher, Royal Grammar School Worcester

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