Talking point

2nd March 2001 at 00:00
DAVID Blunkett says that it doesn't help to call it a crisis. The following are comments from the TESSecondary Heads Association survey of vacancies last month.

"The recruitment position is worsening by the month. Maternity leave and temporary vacancies are becoming a nightmare to fill, not least because there are so many opportunities now to work on a casual basis for supply agencies without having to mark or prepare lessons." Kevin McAleese, Harrogate grammar, Harrogate.

"One more staff vacancy or illness with no supply and we shall start to send children home. We increasingly have no spare staff - everybody including the head is in front of a class." Bill Gould, Hellesdon high, Norwich.

"We'll reach meltdown unless a miracle happens by September. Schools in challenging circumstances find themselves on a less than even playing field.We are still in the changing room while everyone else has kicked off. We are back of the queue for aspiring teachers who can earn the same in less challenging schools." Judith Mullen, head of New College, Leicester.

"Only the commitment and dedication of my present staff is keeping us afloat," Dr David Howard, Ferndown upper school, Ferndown, Dorset.

"I had become accustomed to difficulties in recruiting teachers for maths, science, modern languages and technology. It came as a shock when I advertised twice for an English teacher and had no replies. And this is a nice girls' school in a leafy suburb of London." Mary Waplington, head of Sacred Heart high, Wealdstone, Harrow.

"Don't even let me hear Estelle Morris say again 'there's not a crisis'. Come and spend a week in Kent." Margaret Harriott, The Malling school, Maidstone.

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