We are not the top priority

1st July 2005 at 01:00
I am sure that Lindy Barclay wrote her Platform article "Teachers are more important than pupils", (TES, June 17) with a view to provoking your readers and stirring their little grey cells into action.

How can teachers be more important than pupils in a school? Without pupils there would be no teachers, support staff, governors, local education authorities, educational consultants (like me) and the Department for Education and Skills.

Of course teachers are very, very important. This must never be denied and the points made by Ms Barclay are lucidly set out.

There are two good reasons for all of us (especially the headteachers) to treat them well. First, that is the right and proper thing to do in organisations (i.e. schools) where the producers and products are human beings! Second, if pupils are to receive a good deal - as Ms Barclay points out - we have to give the staff delivering a service, a good deal.

However, there is a tacit assumption in her article that the interests of teachers and pupils never clash. This is naive.

From time to time, what will be good for teachers will be to pupils'

detriment and vice versa. When that happens, the pupils, in my book, will always come first.

David Sassoon

52 Claremont Park Finchley London N3

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