General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

 
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Shake-up teachers 'will quit'

23-01-2008

23/01/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Belfast Telegraph

Teachers across Northern Ireland may leave the profession if the education system turns comprehensive, a grammar school principal claimed today.

Paul Hewitt, head master of the Royal School, Dungannon, argued that the Education Minister's plan to ban academic selection and move transfer from age 11 to 14 "could never work across the whole province".

He claimed there would be huge damage caused to outlying rural schools, a need for massive funding and re-training for teachers, the ownership of school grounds and buildings would need to be dealt with and there would be a lack of challenge and stretch for the brightest pupils.

Crucially, he said many teachers would leave the profession if the system went comprehensive. "Teachers who are trained and practised in learning methods for bright or slow learners would need to be re-trained and many would not feel competent to deal with types of pupil of whom they have had little experience.

"Even if they were able, many would not wish to teach the full ability range.

"As happened to 25% such teachers in state schools in Britain when grammar schools went comprehensive, many would be likely to leave the profession."

However, Frank Bunting from the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, branded the argument that teachers will not cope with change "fanciful".

"For over three decades of bedlam, teachers educated children and sought to maintain schools as sanctuaries in situations often of desperate distress," he said.

"Principals murdered in front of pupils, teachers jumping out of win dows to escape gunmen, wholesale death threats against teachers because of their religion, parents murdered at the school gate. And all the while almost every single so-called education initiative from Britain was inflicted upon them."

 

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