Teacher kills herself over school stress
AN INFANT school teacher killed herself after government inspectors criticised standards at the school she had served for 21 years. The body of 57 year old Pamela Relf was found in a Cambridgeshire river last week.
Her abandoned car contained a note saying she could no longer take the stress of teaching. Her family said that the effect of an Ofsted inspectors' report into her school, which she feared would be critical, had been the final straw. Pamela was a popular teacher at the school, known for her gentle approach with children.
The tragedy highlights the appalling pressures the government is placing on teachers and children. A Guardian poll this week found that half of England's teachers are planning to leave their profession within the next ten years. Some 31 percent of primary school teachers do not expect to be teaching in five years. Three in four put stressful workloads as the reason they might leave. The survey also interviewed parents.
Despite media and government attacks on teachers, a staggering 91 percent of parents said they were happy or fairly happy with the quality of their child's schooling. But parents thought teachers' pay was too low and that their job had become more stressful. The feeling among parents, teachers and pupils can be built on to prevent New Labour's market mania wrecking still more lives in education.
- Truth behind St George's School, west London-see page 7