YP Letters: More teachers needed on front line to solve classroom crisis

Should more teachers be recruited?

From: Robert Dring, Garnet Street, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland.

YOU report (The Yorkshire Post, September 3) that Schools Minister Nick Gibb has said: “We are taking a huge amount of action in terms of tackling [teachers’] workload.”

I have yet to find a teacher who has seen any evidence of this. I taught in secondary schools for 36 years, and have heard such claims from government many times.

High quality education depends on schools being resourced with well-qualified, committed and creative teachers who arrive at school refreshed, well prepared and able to engage energetically with their classes.

Time-wasting, energy-sapping, bureaucratic tasks simply get in the way.

Who is responsible for all this detritus? Hyperactive government ministers who fear being labelled “under-performing” if they don’t initiate constant reform. Top-heavy “senior leadership teams” in many schools, consisting of very highly paid teachers, none of whom actually teach but justify their existence by devising unnecessary schemes which add to the workload of their staff. Ofsted, the fear of which motivates a lot of this counter-productive activity. One of its beneficiaries is the lucrative “in-service training” industry: yet more “educators” safely remote from the front line.

The Government needs to be serious about redirecting all this wasted energy and getting people out of non-jobs back into the classroom to tackle the teacher shortage, and fight the demoralisation and burn-out that has put teacher retention into crisis. Just talking about it, or devising yet more vague “initiatives” won’t cut it.

Teaching is a wonderful vocation: let’s set our teachers free to get on with it!

From: Neil Richardson, Kirkheaton.

IN response to Luke Sibieta’s call to pay teachers more (The Yorkshire Post, September 5), I doubt teaching staff could easily refuse an offer of extra cash in their monthly salary – should funds ever be available.

However, what if the biggest thorn in the side of many teachers is excessive data processing? Moving to another employer outside education may well involve overtime via a corporate laptop, but not the task of planning for (and reporting on) the academic progress of numerous unique juveniles. This task should be simple in its first draft, and evolve in schools to suit local initiatives, constraints and criticism.

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