Teachers 'deserve greater respect'

22nd September 2000 at 01:00
TEACHERS received a major boost today as an influential poll revealed that the public believes the profession does not get the recognition it deserves.

In its first major pronouncement as teaching's new professional body, the General Teaching Council revealed that nearly four out of five adults think the standing of teachers is too low.

Some 78 per cent of a representative sample of 1,693 members of the public, interviewed by pollsters RSGB, believed teachers deserved greater respect.

In addition, 91 per cent agreed that teaching was a highly skilled job, while 82 per cent of those with children at school trusted teachers to take good decisions about their child's education.

And 84 per cent of such parents were happy with the classroom work of their child's teachers.

Lord Puttnam, chairman of the council, said the results demonstrated the public's confidence in the profession.

"These findings come as no surprise to me, and will surprise no-one who has first-hand experience of what teachers are doing up and down the country," he said.

The findings come as Education Secretary David Blunkettappeared to acknowledge the importance of improving the profession's image. He told BBC Radio 5 Live this week that raising teachers' morale was the key challenge of the coming year.

Carol Adams, the teaching council's chief executive, said: "We all need to recognise that it is teachers and pupils who are responsible for achieving high standards in our schools."

The results were released as Mr Blunkett welcomed the council - finally established nearly 140 years after it was first proposed - before its first meeting next Tuesday.

All of its meetings are to be held in public - provided members agree, the council announced this week. The 64 members will be advised by its officials to open up its debates to the press and interested observers, Ms Adams said.

She also revealed that the council intended that its registration fee - which must be paid by all teachers in maintained schools from next year and is expected to be pound;20 - would be tax-deductible.

The Inland Revenue said this would mean a saving of 4.40p for those earning under pound;32,785 a year.

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