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The thin end of the wedge

As a "company cast-off" (victim of redundancy) myself in 1991, I have to say that your tactless headline will do little to ease the integration of teachers from other than the direct academic route into the education system.

I would also like to warn any potential recruits against taking Department for Education and Employment statistics at face value. In 1991, design and technology was classed by the Department for Education as a shortage subject and schools were said to be eager to attract experienced industrialists.

The DFE offered a bursary to reinforce this "shortage" myth.

However, by the time I had obtained my BEd in 1994 the picture had changed. Schools were subject to extreme financial pressures that prevented them paying the level of salary that experienced professionals should command.

Moreover, the vacancies anywhere except London are comparatively few and far between, with each post attracting dozens of applicants. In this situation, anyone not prepared to accept Scale point 0-2 stands little chance of employment. This is ideal from the Government's point of view, as "market forces" will gradually degrade the status of the profession.

I would suggest that anyone considering education as a career looks long and hard at the current situation in schools, which are actively seeking early retirement of the over-50s as the only means open to them of "balancing the budget".

R OSBOURNE 35 Kensington Avenue, Loughborough Leicestershire

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