We didn’t cause the banking crisis

HAZEL Court special school has a well-deserved reputation for staying open when many other schools have had to close (such as in the winter snow), because we know just how very difficult it can be for the parents and carers of our pupils when they have to keep their child at home.

But the teachers in the NUT and ATL unions (including me) closed our school for Thursday’s industrial action, putting these parents and carers to such trouble, because we believe that we’re being forced to do this to protect the education of our future pupils.

There are many myths and mistruths being perpetrated about teacher pensions.

Since changes were made in 2007, teacher pensions are set to be fully self funding.

So the government’s new plans to change our pensions (to make us pay more, and retire later) are a further tax on teachers, when we’ve already got a two-year pay freeze, and inflation is well over four per cent.

And, like the vast majority of the public, teachers didn’t cause the banking crisis.

We weren’t out there looking for a quick buck while selling dodgy sub-prime mortgages, we were in our classes teaching our pupils – yet I don’t seem to see the bankers facing the problems our schools are now having to deal with.

As a headteacher, the biggest problem I see is with recruiting and keeping the good people we need as teachers in the future.

You can make all the teacher jokes about the short school day and long holidays (neither of which are correct in reality, as you’d find if you worked in this school), but good teaching today is very hard work.

Teaching not only requires high-level skills and dedication, it also requires resilience for the years of hard graft, including dealing with an immense amount of paperwork.

So when bright young teachers come into the profession, I want them to feel the government will value and support them, not make them look into working elsewhere, and that’s why I was, very regrettably, be on strike.

Peter Gordon

Headteacher

Hazel Court School