This is the way to keep best teachers in schools

"It must be right to seek to ensure that the best members of that profession remain in teaching for as long as they can," says Gillian Shephard.

Right, let's stop lamenting and let Gillian know exactly how she can do that: * Fund schools in such a way that they are encouraged to keep on experienced staff rather than ease them out because they are "too expensive"; * Fund schools so that there is some equity in the amount each receives rather than inequalities between types of schools and different local education authorities; * Fund schools so that there are sufficient administrative assistants to ease the paperwork burden that is engulfing us; * Stop bashing teachers - she sweetly ignores everything the Government has done, along with their friends in the right-wing "think" tanks, to undermine the profession; * Provide statutory career breaks, secondments, paid study leave (remember the James report?) to refresh and remotivate teachers. I was fortunate to be among the last primary class teachers to have a paid secondment from the former Inner London Education Authority to study for an MA. I am convinced it kept me in the profession; * Abolish the Office for Standards in Education and substitute a genuinely supportive system that will enable schools to improve.

MARTIN FRANCIS 17 St John's Avenue London NW10

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