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Tragedy of a lost alliance

The submission by the Reward and Incentives Group (RIG) to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), is open to serious criticism.

Your editorial (TES, June 3) raises fundamental issues regarding the prospect of further changes to teachers' contracts by removing them from involvement in pastoral care, assemblies, pupil supervision, social and career guidance and other non-teaching duties, including meetings.

Do we really want English and Welsh teaching provision to become a pale imitation of the French, or is it the Italian, or is it the Spanish, or is it the German model? This is a profoundly important issue that demands a comprehensive debate.

The RIG submission is also open to serious criticism over its failure to do any justice to the recruitment and retention difficulties affecting the leadership group. Its proposals regarding extended schools are unworkable.

For instance, the idea that a separate contract should be issued to headteachers undertaking wider leadership roles will inevitably mean that part of the head's salary will not be pensionable. It is facile to suggest that the responsibility of heads will not increase as a result of extended schooling.

I find it strange that the general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, who signed the RIG submission, now says he believes the proposals for changes to classroom teachers' contracts are unrealistic or undesirable.

The tragedy is that if the National Association of Head Teachers had not withdrawn from the workload agreement, we would have refused to endorse key sections of the submission, and we would have been able to have represented school leaders more effectively.

David Hart

General secretary NAHT, West Sussex

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