What shortage?

1st November 1996 at 00:00
The report that the Teacher Training Agency believes a Pounds 5,000 payment should be paid to science graduates to relieve the so-called chronic staff shortages angers me greatly (TES, October 18). There is no shortage of science staff in our schools and I should dearly like to know who is responsible for perpetrating this stupid myth.

I am a science graduate with 28 years experience as a teacher and manager of science and during this time have held many posts of responsibility including, head of chemistry, head of physics, key stage 3key stage 4 co-ordinator, head of science and head of faculty.

Since returning from a teaching contract abroad last October I have applied for 500 full-time teaching posts and have been shortlisted on six occasions only. During telephone conversations I have been told by school secretaries that they were astonished by the overwhelming response to their advert.

Only three weeks ago I applied for a temporary full-time teacher of science for two terms only in a near-by school and discovered that they had received 110 applicants, 106 of which had come from newly qualified teachers trying to secure their first teaching posts. Naturally, I was not shortlisted as I am expensive and too experienced for such a post. Saving money, not experience appears to be the paramount requisite of most headteachers today.

I don't know of any secondary school experiencing problems of recruiting science teachers. If The TES knows otherwise then I should dearly like to know where they are.

RICHARD DALE 7 St Mary's Glebe Edlesborough, Dunstable Bedfordshire

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