Letter: Rewarding teachers

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Sir: When performance-related pay was introduced in the polytechnic where I worked in 1993, we lecturers accurately predicted the names of those of our colleagues who would get it.

They were, to a man, that type of teacher who really doesn't like teaching but who prefers to spend his time administering.

Bad teachers who realise that not only is teaching hard work but that it is also very badly paid with few prospects usually opt for the only career path available to them.

They become cronies of someone in the management and trade hard work in the classroom for paper-pushing and staff-room politics. The pay is better.

Indeed, as a manager, it is possible, under present structures, to earn two or three times as much as a classroom teacher for doing what amounts, often, to little more than clerical work.

The solution is to pay teachers realistic wages to attract good graduates and to develop a cadre of school administrators to handle all the clerical support.

The job-for-life culture should be ended. Teachers should have annual contracts with tenure only awarded after a number of years. Appraisal should not be by the head because this leads to cronyism.

Rather , there should be termly student evaluations. This is the way most European and American schools and colleges are run. They do not have our levels of teacher discontent.

CHRIS PAYNE

Uxbridge,

Middlesex

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