Letter: Who is fit to judge who is fit to teach?

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Sir: Surely the Independent contradicts itself (Leading article: "Teachers' pay is the first lesson", 26 January) when, on the one hand, it advocates the importance of traditional teaching methods, while on the other hand it advises the Government to reward good teachers and to remove those who prove unable to do the job.

If such a pipedream materialised, then our children would be, in too many cases, demotivated and disenchanted by highly paid disciplinarians, many of whom today would be classed as those teachers unable to do the job. The poor teacher finds it easy to teach able children in rows; such pupils are easy to teach. It is the pupils in the average ability range that need motivating and enthusiastic teachers to enable them to achieve their full potential.

The issues confronting our education system today are not teaching methods, but teaching conditions: class size, classroom condition and an insistence on a return to a provocative class culture - the latter exemplified by the renewed debate on selection.

Yours sincerely,

R. E. Burke

London, W7

30 January