Friday, November 27, 2020
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Reader’s comment: Teachers first, pupils second

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In response to Chris McGovern: Admit it, sharing teachers is bad for the child, Gary Laconic Jr wrote:

‘Flexible working: Putting our pupils at the heart of our flexible working policy.’ There we have a typically disingenuous boast, one that the DfE-approved author no doubt copied straight from the Big Book of Public Sector Boilerplate.

As Chris alludes to in his article, the only way in which primary school pupils will realistically benefit from job-sharing is if it provides the group, or individuals within it, with temporary respite from an incompetent or vindictive teacher. And while that might indeed be the reality for some pupils, I doubt if the scheme’s proponents are sufficiently honest to advance the candid argument that a division of tutoring might help mitigate bad teaching.

A policy of flexible working and job-sharing at primary school level is, of course, solely for the benefit of the teaching staff, a body which is now almost entirely female, many of whom will, quite understandably, seek a ‘family-friendly’ working week. And when in the public sector there is a conflict of interests, ultimately the benefits to the employees will always trump the needs of those they are supposed to serve.



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