10 SEPTEMBER 1948, Page 14



SIR,—Sir Ernest Graham-Little, in his letter in The Spectator of September 3rd, contrasts the generosity of the Government's offer to teachers with the unattractive austerity they offer to prospective nurses. Surely he has not hit upon the worst feature of the advertisement. It strikes me as auguring ill for the future of children of State schools that people have to be tempted into a (though I say it myself) noble profession by " independence and security," " good holidays " and that horrible offer of respectability, " professional status." Friends of mine who work in the State schools have all drawn the clear distinction between two types of teachers emerging today from the Emergency Colleges. There are those who would have taken up teaching anyhow, because they have a genuine vocation for it ; these men and women are an asset in any school. There are those who have taken up teaching for the very reasons so vividly painted in the advertisement (not the least of which is " professional status "), and who are, as a rule, thoroughly unsatisfactory.

If a public or preparatory school has an unsatisfactory member of the staff, the solution is usually swift and simple. In the State schools this action is usually not possible ; ("independence and security "). It would appear to me, therefore, to be the duty of the Ministry to make sure that candidates appointed to what is virtually a life incumbency really are thoroughly suited to the work, and have, as far as is possible, a genuine vocation. Attracting those with "no formal qualifications (such as School Certificate)" by offering purely selfish inducements may, perhaps, alleviate the temporary shortage, but will have a serious effect in later years. There is, of course, the possibility of the Ministry counting on the successful candidates marrying before they have done

The Red House School, West Ashling, Nr. Chichester.