Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Don't Boot out the Old

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Don't Boot out the Old

Article excerpt

Back at the end of term, the overriding emotion flooding the school was relief. I stuck my head through a colleague's door to wish her a happy summer, but on sight of me, she burst into tears. "I'm dreading coming back after the holidays," she said. "They've really got it in for me. It doesn't matter how hard I work, I just don't fit the bill."

In the last few days of term she had found out that a teacher qualified for only two years had been made head of her key stage - a role that hadn't even been mentioned to her. On top of this, history, a subject she was passionate about and had successfully led for years, was now in the hands of someone finishing their first year who had once said they liked history.

The reason is simple: my colleague is a classroom teacher in her fifties, on the upper pay scale but with no management responsibilities - and for this she has to be punished.

The way teachers are managed has changed drastically in the past few years. Expectations have shot up as headteachers look for ways to prove they are squeezing every penny's worth out of their staff. It may be pushing up standards (on paper at least) but compassionate it ain't. In a school like ours, where 22 is the new 40, an older classroom teacher who has the temerity to linger is in for a distinctly bumpy ride.

Fantastic with children but more reserved with adults, this teacher retreats when she feels threatened. She doesn't go bouncing up to the senior leadership team every time she has a bright idea. …

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