Who'll stand up for teachers?

The reaction of Malcolm Chisholm, the Health Minister, to the Unison conference complaints about attacks on public sector workers will have impressed all who work in the front-line delivery of services to people.

As proof that these attacks are unacceptable, there was no exaggerated Government reaction to the notion that health service workers may refuse to treat violent or abusive patients and the Executive will support taking such people to court.

Teachers can only contrast this with the attitude of Cathy Jamieson towards their plight as the biggest sector of local authority workers who face violent and abusive clients. The Education Minister's silence is eloquent and frightening.

The same behaviours expressed in an Aamp;E ward on a Saturday night, which her colleague says should be rewarded with prosecution, are to be accepted on a Tuesday afternoon without dispute because to do otherwise would offend the Great God of Social Inclusion.

Teachers are to be assumed not to have the same rights and need for protection as other workers but must suffer and fall in silence in mini educational Passchendaeles in classrooms throughout the country while the minister dodges the real issues by launching a smokescreen great education debate.

Cathy Jamieson should realise that teachers do not like her not as she alleges because she is from a working class background, but because she demonstrates no interest in them or their conditions. She seems not to be good at her job of Minister for Education: that has to include a responsibility for looking after teachers as well as young people.

Yes we need to educate the disturbed or malevolent few, but please let us have a debate about what is the best way to do that and not one which looks at how we can do more on resources and time that are already stretched to breaking point.

End of first term report - must try harder and should take more interest in her work.

Roy Robertson Glasgow Road Denny, Stirlingshire

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