LETTER: Why teach?

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I was amused to hear of Tony Blair's desire for teachers to have parity of esteem with doctors. The Green Paper on teachers' pay and conditions holds out the prospect for a small proportion of classroom teachers to earn pounds 35,000 per annum, and outstanding heads who turn around failing schools, which may have over 2,000 pupils and several hundred staff, up to pounds 70,000.

Such remuneration compares with over pounds 50,000, and in many cases much more, for a GP , and up to pounds 112,000 for a hospital consultant whose weekly contracted hours amount to only 35, thus leaving much free time to earn still more enormous sums from private practice.

Ambitious, highly-achieving school students in maths and science with a vocational bent will continue to choose medicine as their career of first choice, and anyone who believes potential earnings is not the most important factor is ignorant of human nature.