Action was for children’s sake

FOR those parents who had to make other arrangements for their children on the recent teachers’ strike day, it may not have seemed like the teachers were striking for the benefit of their children, but they were.

As a recently retired long-serving headteacher, I know that the staff at my school worked incredibly hard to make sure that despite the ever changing government policies we had to implement (do one thing, then a few years later go back to what you were previously doing; inspect this in impossible detail, then inspect that; and on and on), our pupils got the best education possible.

Good teaching is very hard and unremitting work, and eventually even the very best teachers get worn out (they use up their resilience). This government now wants teachers to work until age 68, and to pay more for a significantly smaller pension.

This retirement age means that most teachers will be forced to take early retirement, with the punishment that they will lose five per cent of their pension for every year that they leave before 68. Already 40 per cent of new teachers leave the profession within their first five years, and goodness knows how many potentially very good teachers look at these working conditions and decide to go elsewhere. This government’s measures are simply going to make things worse.

Ultimately it is the pupils’ education that will suffer, and that is why the teachers were on strike.

PETER GORDON

Old House Gardens