Letter: Music lessons are for art's sake

Sir: On Saturday I found myself in the company of four young teachers ("Labour warns of acute teacher shortage", 2 September). One, an art educator, had already left school work to undertake further training. She will not return to teaching "if she can help it". All the other three, one primary and two secondary, are considering leaving the profession.

The reason? The stressful conditions under which they now work. Criticised by anyone seeking a scapegoat for social problems - the Government, parents, the media - they know how seriously they take the job they do and just how hard it has become. They also feel, by comparison with professional peers in the legal and business fields, profoundly under-valued.

The issue ties in neatly with correspondence on the need for child care at school age (Letters, 2 September). The way many parents now order their lives is seriously affecting the nature of the job that teachers do.

Try to imagine the pressure on one teacher from 30 children clamouring for the attention that two working parents are unable to give at home.