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The Independent Online
Savage attack is unfair on teachers

Prince Charles has made a savage and unfair attack on the teachers of this country. It enrages me to know that there will be many people who will hang on to these poorly thought out words of his and use them as a stick with which to beat teachers.

I have been teaching for some 20 or so years. In this time there have been many changes demanded of teachers by those in charge of the government of the day. During these years there has never been a time when I have not taught the children in my charge English grammar, spelling and the times-tables in a formal way. This is and has been common practice for as long as I have been teaching. It is malicious to suggest that this is not being done.

Teachers are bombarded with different requirements, many of which are bureaucratic and cause stress. Many head teachers are leaving the profession early and strong and excellent teachers are reduced to retiring through ill-health because of the excessive demands placed on them by the job.

As a teacher, a parent, and a local education authority governor of a school in my area, I feel that I have the "chalk-face" experience to make judgements on these matters. Many young citizens become the dispossessed of society in a world where many of their parents' jobs have become redundant. They strive for qualifications which no longer guarantee that they will be entitled to anything more than cooking and serving hamburgers. Surely it is this kind of change in the fundamental structure of employment that causes the problems which Prince Charles feels he is mopping up.

Christine Robinson

Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire

Prince's actions speak volumes

Prince Charles had an opportunity to support state education when Prince William was five years old. He could have enrolled his son at the most run-down, under-funded, poorly staffed school he and his aides could find in the length and breadth of London. How long would it have been before money for books, computers, musical instruments, repairs, decorating and permanent, qualified and experienced staff were found for the Prince's class and, by extension, every other class in that school? By his actions Prince Charles - our future head of state - undermines the very system about which he claims to be concerned.

(Ms) Alvine Swanson

Porthlethen Academy, Aberdeen

The system does fail our children

The Prince of Wales is perfectly entitled to voice his opinion - which most parents share - that over the past few years the education system has been failing our children. I live in Hackney so I should know! My children are definitely suffering from a failing education system - which stems from very poor standards of teaching. We should be grateful that we have a Prince of Wales who has the courage, foresight and dedication to "pick up the pieces" through his work with the Prince's Trust. As parents we are sick to death of listening to the constant whingeing of teachers who seem to think they are some sort of Holy Cow, above criticism.

Mrs L Ashton, Hackney, London

We cannot hope to end all work

Professor White ("Less work, more activity", Education+, 12 June) outlines a Utopian child-centred future for those of us with families. We doubtless all aspire to just such a life built round activities of their own choosing, but I felt immediately uneasy about the idea. The philosopher does not appear to have any practical suggestions as to how a family may be fed, clothed, housed or educated in a land where work, hence income, has been largely eliminated.

We all want a life of personal fulfilment but everything has a cost, and a cost must be paid. Or am I just too puritanical to survive until 2050?

Chris Leftley, Oxford

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