Letter: Finding teachers

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Sir: How I cringed to learn of the launch of "teacherline", the new national helpline offering counselling and support to the profession (report, 8 September). Is it not appalling that teachers, like bullied and abused children, have to resort to a telephone service for advice and guidance?

Whilst I in no way wish to denounce the very real value of counselling support, it must be made clear that it is an individualisation of a structural problem, and in my view is unlikely to be of much benefit to the vast numbers of defeated, disillusioned teachers who will continue to be absent through long-term sickness or simply leave.

The secondary school from which I recently resigned offered in-house counselling for staff, but it was viewed with great scepticism, even disdain by me and many of my colleagues. It seemed to be offered instead of, rather than as well as, practical, professional support.

The teaching unions and Estelle Morris, Education and Employment Minister, are endorsing "teacherline" but the real solution to high stress levels and low recruitment figures is a fundamental change in the funding and structure of our education service.

Can we now look forward to the launch of "nurseline" and "juniordoctorline"?