We all feel 'undervalued and resentful'

9th January 2004 at 00:00
The Office for Standards in Education's assertion that headteachers who are holding back from the workforce agreement are "ineffective and weak" is flawed on a number of levels (TES, December 19).

The document issued to schools by the Department for Education and Skills states that for the agreement to work there must be additional resources given to schools and that there would be 10,000 more teachers and 50,000 more teaching assistants. I am not aware that these have yet arrived.

A headteacher colleague of mine who was monitored by Ofsted last week stated that he was certain that the group of inspectors had clearly been briefed to look for schools where there was some disagreement with the Government's proposals and to make the heads feel uncomfortable and isolated.

There are a huge number of teachers and parents who feel that the role of the teacher is to teach, not to plan work for unskilled workers, although we would all agree that members of our profession should not be collecting dinner money etc. All teachers, especially in primary schools, will welcome a guarenteed period of non contact time; that time should not be at the expense of the children.

I still wonder what an inspection team would say at a school where four classes were having a sing with the learning objective of "giving my colleagues some non-contact time" as was suggested by DfES representatives at a recent meeting in my education authority.

It is unfortunate that Ofsted has now become an organisation that believes that a statement is correct just because it makes it.

Your report quotes Ofsted as saying headteachers' reluctance to use assistants in a teaching capacity left them feeling "undervalued and resentful". Most heads and teachers feel the same about Ofsted and this government.

David Smith

Upperwood primary School Dartree Walk

Darfield, Barnsley

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