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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 08:25 GMT 09:25 UK
Teacher shortages 'will worsen'
Class
The ATL says the government must do more
by BBC News Online's Angela Harrison at the ATL conference in Torquay

The staffing crisis which has led to children being sent home from school could get worse next year, a teachers' union has warned.

Teachers meeting in Torquay, Devon, for the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, recounted stories of crisis from around England and Wales.


Our pupils deserve a proper full-time education

Ann Boxall, teacher
And the general secretary of the ATL, Peter Smith, predicted more problems to come.

"I sense that the problem will be worse next year than it is now.

"The government needs to do a lot more," he said.

Phil Baker
Phil Baker: Pupils sent home from his school
The delegates voted unanimously to support a motion calling for the government to take urgent action to prevent the staffing crisis.

Proposing a motion was Phil Baker, from the Headlands School in Swindon, where children were sent home for afternoons this spring due to staff shortages.

He said the school's head teacher received a standing ovation from teachers when he announced he had made the decision because the school was short of six teachers.

"He realised that the absence of permanent teachers was damaging to learning and behaviour," he said.

Ann Boxall
Ann Boxall: Shocked
Mr Baker said it was only through improving working conditions and pay that more people would be attracted to the profession.

Another delegate, Avril Brown, said although the primary school she taught at did not have serious staff problems, her son had had six supply teachers in as many weeks at his junior school nearby.

Ann Boxall, a primary school teacher from Suffolk, told delegates she had been shocked to see the severity of staff shortages at a local secondary school.

She said the school - Hollywells in Ipswich - would have 20 vacancies by September.

"Our pupils deserve a proper full-time education, the best. This is every child's right," she said.

Click for more on England's teacher shortage

News and reaction

Recruitment effort

Features

Background
See also:

14 Mar 01 | UK Education
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


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