Where is workload relief?

11th April 2003 at 01:00
My husband is leaving teaching. He has been told his workload will increase enormously next year. He already works between 50 and 60 hours per week, not including preparation undertaken at home and many hours spent in school during holidays.

My brother-in-law is also seriously considering leaving teaching. A friend's husband left teaching for a lower-paid job, and his health has returned. His wife is supposed to be a part-time teacher, but in reality it takes up her whole week. She has a serious health condition, but refuses to be off sick.

Another young friend graduated only four years ago. She taught for two years and left, disillusioned. While travelling she taught in Australia, which did not compare to teaching in this country. She returned last September to teach locally. Like my husband, she is in school before 7.30am and regularly not home till 7pm, then works most evenings and weekends marking and preparing. She is 26. She has just handed in her notice, unable to face another 30 years with no real life and unable even to afford her own home.

My husband has a colleague who spent six years training to be a teacher as a mature person. He is 36, with a wife and two children. He started teaching 18 months ago on a salary of pound;17,000. But his student debts alone are pound;12,000. He is leaving, again, disillusioned with workload, pay, and pupil behaviour.

None of these people are moaners. They are dedicated 110 per cent to the work. As the wife of a teacher, I wonder when teachers will unite to say enough is enough? Why are the unions not protecting them and why are there no legal challenges against the Government when it brings out impossible targets? It says it is pouring extra millions into schools yet it is taking it all away in increased national insurance contributions among other things, resulting in teacher redundancies. All this at a time when it is spending millions trying to encourage teachers into the profession.

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