When teaching is at the other end of a bargepole

6th April 2001 at 01:00
Your report on teacher shortages (ScotlandPlus, March 30) painted a gloomy picture. It suggested that continuing professional development is bound to be a victim if there are not enough teachers to stand in front of classes.

The extra 4,000 teachers planned under the McCrone settlement would barely register on the national pupil-teacher ratio. Yet there is a growing belief, espoused by the political parties, that smaller classes make for higher standards.

To secure the future of the profession, young people have to be recruited to it. But the overwhelming majority of pupils leaving school for higher education would not touch teaching with a bargepole.

No wonder when most f their own teachers would advise them against joining a profession which is overstressed and undervalued and in which rigid adherence to externally imposed targets and measures of accountability have removed all freedom to inspire in the way that pupils themselves define good teaching.

The Scottish Executive are hoping there will be better rates of recruitment on the back of the McCrone pay rises but the legacy of bad publicity surrounding teaching is not going to disappear for years, at best.

Get the bureaucrats off the back of today's teachers. That is the best way to create a more contented profession.

Andrew Macintosh

East Claremont Street, Edinburgh

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