Waste not

19th September 1997 at 01:00
It comes as no surprise that young, bright graduates are not attracted to teaching and that there is a recruitment crisis.

One way of making the job more attractive is to enhance the only major perk - the holidays. Obviously this would be challenged by the chattering classes and other professionals who actually remain largely ignorant of the real demands and stresses of teaching.

However, they have done very little so far to raise the profile of the profession nor are they willing to contribute more funds to education.

A very easy way to do this might be to scrap the increasingly meaningless Baker days or as they should be known - waster days.

Few heads seem to be able to put these to constructive use and some use them as a means of haranguing their staff. Whole days are wasted on tasks that are irrelevant, superfluous or demeaning.

They are usually directed from the top with very little scope for meaningful dialogue.

If the majority of teachers were asked what they remembered from their five training days, the answer would be very little, if anything, that improved their teaching or the children's learning. Very often large fees are paid to outside consultants to organise these days. This is a shocking waste of resources.

They should be replaced with professional training which is not necessarily school-based. The training should reflect the needs of the school and the individual teacher and should be negotiated mutually. This would move away from these blanket days which try to create whole-school clones and fail to produce anything constructive.

Five days more holiday would cause an instant rise in teacher morale and would cost the country very little.

P MACDONALD

Address supplied

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