Why is experience too expensive?

6th October 2000 at 01:00
MAY I resurrect a problem that has been pushed underground?

Last week I challenged Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers: Why is no one making a fuss over the fact that schools still have to look at the price-tag when appointing teachers, and experienced teachers are being passed over, unable to move schools, or unable to get back into schools at all?

The reply astonished me: "There is very little evidence that there is any problem." Yet a local headteacher admits that, unless the cheaper candidate is obviously inadequate, when appointing a head of department, it is school policy to appoint the cheaper candidate.

How many of us are affected by this? How many 30-year-olds are past their sell-by date, with their careers blighted by this policy?

How many schools are frustrate and ashamed, enforcing unjust policies, because of the need to make short-term budget savings?

How many high-flying 25-year-olds will be burnt-out wrecks at 30 because of too-early promotion?

How many supply teachers hang on, eking out a living, knowing they will never get back into school?

It stands to reason that the best teachers are the most expensive. Does it? Is there evidence that schools cannot afford them?

If you know that your price-tag is a problem, or if you know that your school cannot make quality the chief consideration when appointing candidates, please write to your union and your MP, and let us find the true picture.

And if anyone knows of a solution, acceptable both to unions and the tax-payer ... tell us that too!

F Mary Callan

22 Park Street


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