'We must find ways to stop staff leaving'

A science teacher rejected a personal appeal yesterday from David Blunkett not to abandon his career.

Wilfred Matos, 30, resigned from Redbridge Community School, Southampton, last week after five years in schools. He gave his reasons - increasing work and stress - in a question to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment after Mr Blunkett addressed the conference of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.

Mr Matos told delegates: "I have loved teaching but it is being a teacher I have come to hate. Why are society's ills on my shoulders? I am looking forward to getting back my lost evenings and my lost weekends. What is the Government going to do to convince people to stay?" Mr Matos told Mr Blunkett he was one of the quarter of recruits to teaching who quit in the first five years. He had no plans for a new job when he leaves after next term.

Mr Blunkett said: "I hope you will reconsider your decision. We cannot afford to have anyone as committed as you are to teaching leaving the profession. We need to find ways of ensuring that we keep you in."

Afterwards, Mr Matos said: "He [Mr Blunkett] definitely made it more obvious that I made the right decision."

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