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

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The Independent Online
Sir: When Tony Blair lists as one of his solutions that the "best" teachers should be brought into "failing sink comprehensives" ("Blair 'fast track' scheme for schools", 29 January), where does he think they are coming from? Most heads in the greater London area will tell you that we are facing a shortage of teachers in the capital.

As London's largest supplier of temporary teaching staff, we recruit in more than 40 British training institutions and more than 60 abroad. While overseas-trained teachers are keen on coming to London, the home- grown variety are not, even when we are able to offer incentives of more than pounds 2,000 a year above the scale rates. Many students think that London is dirty, ill-governed, crime-ridden, polluted and expensive, while our schools are undisciplined and results are poor.

I don't blame Harriet Harman for making her difficult choice, but I do blame politicians of all hues for oversimplifying, and thereby belittling, the problems that parents and teachers have to face.

Yours faithfully,

Chris King

Director of Education

TimePlan Education Group

London, N3

29 January