Teachers’ workloads, striking train guards, rental housing, mental health

Northern rail RMT staff have been on strike
Northern rail RMT staff have been on strike
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Readers’ letters, October 23

No decline in teachers’ workload

Schools Minister Nick Gibb has said: “We are taking a huge amount of action in terms of tackling teachers’ workload”.

I have yet to find a teacher who has seen any evidence of this.

I taught in secondary schools for 36 years, and have heard such claims from Government many times.

High quality education depends on schools being resourced with well-qualified, committed and creative teachers who arrive at school refreshed, well prepared and able to engage energetically with their classes.

Time-wasting, energy-sapping, bureaucratic tasks simply get in the way.

Who is responsible for all this detritus? Hyperactive Government ministers who fear being labelled ‘under-performing’ if they don’t initiate constant reform.

There are top-heavy ‘senior leadership teams’ in many schools, consisting of very highly paid teachers, none of whom actually teach but justify their existence by devising unnecessary schemes which add to the workload of their staff.

There is Ofsted, the fear of which motivates a lot of this counter-productive activity. One of its beneficiaries is the lucrative ‘in-service training’ industry – yet more ‘educators’ safely remote from the front- line.

The Government needs to be serious about redirecting all this wasted energy and getting people out of non-jobs back into the classroom to tackle the teacher shortage, and fight the demoralisation and burnout that has put teacher retention into crisis.

Just talking about it, or devising yet more vague ‘initiatives’, won’t cut it.

Teaching is a wonderful vocation: let’s set our teachers free to get on with it!

Robert Dring, Address supplied

We do need train guards

No guards! What if the driver has a heart attack? Who will inform the signalman, to stop the next train running into the back off the train?

Who would be able to open the doors and see everybody safely out?

A driver won’t be able to put a fire out, or assist if a passenger has a heart attack, until the next stop if there is anybody at the next station!

Utterly ludicrous not to keep our guards on the trains. Hope common sense will prevail.

Jarvis Browning, Email address supplied

Rein in the landlords

The only way to procure long and lasting chains of good family social housing is to rein in all rogue landlords .

They must be brought to book, and the housing market itself needs vast reductions in house prices.

This has become a false ‘cash cow’ for so-called housing punters, the result of bulging property prices.

Ian Wilson, Address supplied

Can’t wait for extra health spending

As a carer for someone with complex mental health problems, we both have serious concerns with all the changes going on in the health service.

Mental health seems to be pushed aside again.

The Government has said it will put extra cash into the system by 2020 to help those that need support, yet the system is not doing what it should be doing now.

There are a lack of trained community psychiatric nurses and people cannot wait until 2020 for things to improve because the system is at breaking point for two reasons:

l Patients get used to having the trust of a health professional only for the professional to be taken away, normally after six weeks. Patients might, if they are lucky, get an occupational therapist again, normally for another six weeks. Then they are left to their own devices.

l Staff are unsure if their jobs are safe or to be reallocated out of the community and back into hospitals. This makes it harder to get help if drop-in centres close.

Both staff and patients have the right to know exactly what the future plans of the trusts are.

Derek Barton, email address supplied