2011

 

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Mrs. Monk's Would-be Diary should have been written by Mrs. Monk, since she is the "Writer" in the family.
However, since she is a writer only in the conceptual sense, I have undertaken to fill these pages on her behalf
If not by her, these pages will certainly be about her, and other important matters of the day         Leslie Monk

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Sad?

by  Monk 26 October 2011

Dear Mr Beecroft,

David Cameron wants to make it easier for Employers including Academies to sack the most capable employees and teachers, in order to save money for the business community and yes, even the taxpayer.

I understand you are a big shot adventure capitalist, commissioned by David Cameron to give his own position some clout, and the Employment Tribunal process is certainly flawed but not for the reasons set out in the leaked REPORT written by yourself. 

The problem with your draft is that it is short on evidence and heavy on the bleeding obvious. If you ask a business man, if he would like to be able to hire and fire his employees easily and cheaply, and to avoid the challenge of doing so fairly and expensively, then he or she would be delighted with your proposals to remove or at least diminish his obligation to do so fairly. 

You wrote, “The downside of the proposal is that some people would be dismissed simply because their employer did not like them. While this is sad I believe it is a price worth paying for all the benefits that would result from the change”

“Sad?” Do you really think the premature end of a career in public service for example, can be dismissed with three “sad” letters?

Your premise is that all employers act properly and efficiently and all employees do not. However a REPORT that does not take into account or even discuss  the “negative consequences” of the proposals you make, is an irresponsible REPORT. Of course if you were my employer I would not dare call you “irresponsible,” particularly if you succeeded in getting your hire-and-fire charter passed into British Law.

Because you have not troubled yourself to examine the consequences of your proposal, I will offer a possible scenario in the case of one sector, education.

Blair and now Cameron set about making schools more “efficient” and did so  by introducing a profit motif, and a competitive market. Private companies with commercial directors, some disguised as charities, have taken control of the educational budget, public money, and have redistributed the cash in great secrecy.

In the name of your key objectives, efficiency and competitiveness, these private enterprises have executed the following plan: the directors of the company begin by appointing themselves as Governors of the Academy, and they then proceed by removing the incumbent head teacher, regardless of ability, and because he or she may understandably resist change, they do so with a generous “package” of public cash, and a gagging order.  They replace him or her with a new younger energetic but less experienced head teacher, who in turn will be charged with recruiting people he “likes” and dismissing people that he or she does not “like”. The culling of staff is indeed made difficult by the laws designed to prevent unfair dismissal, but with generous payouts funded by the taxpayer, pretty soon the school will have dispensed with any teacher that does not fit into the new regime. First in line for dismissal will be the most capable and the most experienced and the most aged teachers.

Culling teachers is not at all difficult, and once Mr Chips is aware that he is not appreciated, he is most likely to fade away without a whimper, particularly if Mr Chips gets the right offer.

The most qualified, experienced and capable, teachers are also the most likely to resent a new young inexperienced head teacher, and would also be the most likely to criticise that head teacher if he failed to act appropriately.

But these most capable teachers are also the most expensive teachers since they would be on higher salaries than newly qualified teachers, and even more so than unqualified teachers. Kerchang for the Academy. These would be extremely dodgy, so called efficiency savings.

At great cost to the tax payers this new Academy Culture has dismissed the teachers with proven ability, either on the grounds of cost savings, or on your very own simple Mr Beecroft terms, because they are simply not liked. 

“Liked?”

You may endorse this as a legit but “sad” reason for dismissing quality teachers on the grounds of efficiency savings, but in education, as in business, you get what you pay for.

In many schools a majority of classes are taken by unqualified teachers. It is not at all uncommon for a majority of classes to be taken by mothers of pupils, “teacher assistants.” Data for this is kept secret, particularly by academies who have every reason to keep this information from the public gaze.

If you allow uneducated people to teach uneducated children, the future and indeed present outcome is blindingly obvious. Mr Cameron may well have described the consequences of this most recently, this very summer,  when he described Britain as a “sick” society.

Mr Beecroft, you are proposing to make it easier for Academies to fire qualified experienced teachers, and that is not “sad,” it is tragic, and immoral.

You must try harder, unless of course you asked someone else to write that leaked draft in your name, in which case you may need to offer them a package.

If you think I have been fast and loose with the facts, I am happy to show you the evidence, and will meet with you at any time.

None of this will surprise any experienced qualified teacher.

It is in fact common knowledge

Yes, we may need to review the employment laws because they are seriously flawed but not in any way to disadvantage fair employers, only the bad ones.

How much to you from David Cameron?

537,076

Kerchang.

Leslie Monk

Your Leaked Draft

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“employer did not like them... this is sad”

Your Leaked Draft