One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell

.

THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Reader’s Comment: Part-time teachers get part-time results

In response to Chris McGovern: Teaching needs more talented men, Groan wrote:

One observation I would make over the past decade. In the local school, in which my wife works and my three children were educated, there has been a marked increase in the number of part-time teachers on the staff. The result being a marked increase in "covering" classes by other teachers or teaching assistants. Which can't be good for the quality of education.

I don't know the data for schools but in most industries women are twice as likely to be "off sick" as men and of course are the vast majority of those with part time and "family friendly" hours. Thus one practical outcome of the diminishing proportion of male teachers is a fall in the consistency and quality of service. Quite apart from any "role model" issues.


  • Colkitto03

    Research shows that on average men take a total of 140 days off sick during their career, while women take 189 days. Add to that that public sector workers are 60% more likely to take time off sick than private sector workers. This means that female public sector workers are the most likely to be off sick and men in the private sector are the least likely.
    These figures are roughly reflected across the western world.

    • Under-the-weather

      Another way of looking at it is that if there was more part time work available (to help back child support), there would probably be less sickness from women, (although there will always be those with hormonal probs, and women are more likely to be taking time out to see a GP for a check up), at least with part time working hours there’s some flexibility.

      • Colkitto03

        In essence I am a big supporter of part time working. It is suitable for most workplaces. I agree with Groans point that it is less suitable in schools where continuity is very important. A third of mothers aspire to part time working and society should support that as an alternative to full time work.
        I appreciate also that the stats I quote a skewed by the fact that mothers will take ‘sick’ time off to look after their own sick children.
        This is also a factor in the earnings gap between women and men. A gap I don’t see as a problem as looking after children is the most important job I can think of, albeit without financial reward.

  • Busy Mum

    …and a marked increase in the number of pastoral staff and counsellors who are all paid out of our money to take an unhealthy interest in our children’s private lives.

  • Under-the-weather

    Hmm, if I joined a school as a specialist I.e as a music or art teacher, (or even looking forward some vocation), what are the chances of my being offered full time employment in that subject?
    In reality those positions are being offered as part time hours for a reason, and if that’s because the students are only studying maybe one full period per week, (and the hours are made up from multiple streams) and that is continuous and fulfils the syllabus, what’s the problem? .