Unsure where to direct anger

21st January 2011 at 00:00

In your report last week on the General Teaching Council for Scotland's challenge to Renfrewshire's proposals to put unqualified staff in schools, I can't decide which makes me more angry - the Renfrewshire official's talk of a "revised teaching week of 22.5 hours" or the Scottish Government official's appalling complacency that everything is OK because Renfrewshire "is not replacing teachers with non-teaching staff". Let's not worry about the kids.

It is true that, in the 2001 teachers' agreement, primary teachers' class contact time was cut by 2.5 hours - a 10 per cent cut - to allow them time for preparation. However, there were lots of assurances that this change would not affect the pupil week. It is interesting that, a short 10 years later, the teachers' contact time is seen as determining the teaching week. This 10 per cent cut is the equivalent of taking 19.5 days off the pupil year, all without any meaningful consultation with parents. However, `twas ever thus.

As for the Government's stance, I had no idea that our school system was essentially a job-creation scheme for teachers and that everything is acceptable as long as no teacher loses a job. Wow, and there was me thinking that it was all about educating the weans.

Judith Gillespie, Findhorn Place, Edinburgh.

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