You're better off than you think

23rd December 2005 at 00:00
It does irritate me immensely when The TES frequently reports from teachers and headteachers who feel they are so hard done by with regards to their pay review.

As an experienced head, Ofsted inspector and adviser, I know how hard many teachers and heads work. But I also know how well paid they are, especially compared to most other people in the private sector and further education, who not only work long days but get significantly less holiday time, substantially worse pension deals and have to work well into their sixties.

Do not forget that most teachers can afford to take early retirement and have wonderfully long summer holidays to recover, and no real performance-related pay issues to worry about.

I realise many teachers have tough workloads during term time, but taken over the whole year their workload is easy compared to other jobs.

The problem does not lie in what we as a profession get paid, bit in the disproportionate workload compacted into three terms, instead of being spread over the whole year.

I do not understand why teachers don't start lobbying for a five-term year.

Their stress levels and crises management would be significantly reduced, they would still have decent periods of holiday time and good pension arrangements, and they would no longer require lengthy summer holidays to recover. And pupils would not "slip-back" academically because they had spent nearly three months not being actively involved in learning. (Yes, we all know that post-exam time when every teacher lets the pace slip and puts "fun" back into the timetable.)

Stop kidding yourself that teachers are poorly paid for the job they do and start looking creatively at how to improve the work-life balance for teachers and pupils.

Sally Howard Higfields Cockshut Lane Derby

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