Stop this name and blame game;Letter

17th April 1998 at 01:00
According to Anthea Millett's article ("Reinforcements need to join recruiting battle", TES, April 3) the limited success of the Teacher Training Agency's campaign to recruit more and better teachers is mainly attributable to the patchy commitment of some of those she describes as her "key partners" in the enterprise. This reaction - a version of name and blame - is characteristic of recent official thinking.

There are in fact two fundamental reasons for the current crisis in teacher recruitment. One is that, as ever in times of economic upturn, teacher recruitment falls because teachers' salaries are not remotely competitive with those in other sectors. The second is that the public image of teaching is now that of an overburdened, over-inspected workforce suffering from growing stress, and recurrently targeted by angry parents, careerist politicians and dictatorial bureaucrats. In this respect, Anthea Millett and the organisation she heads is one of the main causes of the problem - not part of its solution. Her carping about the failures of her so-called partners is symptomatic. Partnership implies a relationship of equality. But this is precisely what is absent from the TTA's relationship with teacher training institutions and teachers. The relationship is dictatorial - as the tone of her article so clearly suggests.

Finally, may I stress that the views expressed in this letter are my own and not those of the organisation I work for. The fact that it is necessary to express such a caveat is a further symptom of the problem.

JOHN BECK

Head of education studies Homerton College Cambridge

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