Schools plan 'doomed to fail' - teacher

TEACHERS have warned the plan to scrap middle schools is “doomed to utter failure” unless the county council promises to safeguard their jobs.Suffolk middle school teacher Mark Langford said without a jobs guarantee excellent teachers who could help schools through the changes “relatively unscathed” would leave the area.

TEACHERS have warned the plan to scrap middle schools is “doomed to utter failure” unless the county council promises to safeguard their jobs.

Suffolk middle school teacher Mark Langford said without a jobs guarantee excellent teachers who could help schools through the changes “relatively unscathed” would leave the area.

His comments came after Suffolk's branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said it was “suspicious” that education bosses had not been able to give any pledge on redundancies.

Last night the county council defended its stance, saying it was impossible to give guarantees at this stage of the process.


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But Mr Langford said unless there was an undertaking that affected teachers would not be forced into redundancy the education shake-up would falter.

He said: “This has loaded existing teaching staff with even more stress and uncertainty.

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“Many excellent teachers - the only ones who can help schools through the Suffolk County Council changes relatively unscathed - are now looking for employment outside the area rather than suffer years of uncertainty.

“Headteachers are now going to find it even harder to fill existing and new vacancies, due to a natural reluctance to work in an area where the council cares so little for the children and teachers in its care.

“Unless Suffolk County Council can make a pledge on jobs, then their already-unwelcome changes will be doomed to utter failure.”

Mr Langford said that despite his love of teaching in Suffolk, he has reluctantly decided to seek a position with a more certain future.

He criticised the council for not making clear at the planning stage how it proposed to replace middle schools and the effect it would have on teachers.

Councillors voted through the proposals to move to a two-tier system, which will mean Suffolk's middle schools will start closing from 2009.

A county council spokesman said yesterday: “There will certainly be no fewer pupils needing teachers and also in the next three to five years around a third of headteachers will be coming up to retirement age.

“What that means is that there will be lots of opportunities for new leaders to come forward and help shape the education in the county.

“Until the detailed, area-by-area consultations are carried out we cannot say what specifically it will mean to each area.

“It is impossible to say whether there will be a shortage of posts or a shortage of teachers either way.

“Being asked to give guarantees for something that will take a good number of years to put in place is impossible but what is very clear is that there will be a great need for both leaders to shape and energetic and talented school staff to take part and help the process be successful.”

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