Retiring Isle of Man head teacher calls for end to pay dispute

Posted: 24th October 2022

Union action and the rising cost of living are affecting education on the Isle of Man, a retiring secondary school head teacher has said.

Adrienne Burnett, who held the top role at Ballakermeen High School for 21 years, said an end to the pay dispute would be the best outcome for pupils.

Some union members are taking action short of strike in response to current pay levels and working conditions.

Ms Burnett said she had “lost some fantastic teachers” as a result of pay.

“They just can’t afford to live here,” she added.

The industrial action by members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, where some teachers are only working hours they are paid for, “hasn’t been great” for pupils, Ms Burnett said.

She said, while she supported fair wages, the impact of the action meant that extra curricular activities, like shows and clubs in schools, were being affected.

Reflecting on recent exam results, where fewer top grades were awarded at the school, the former head praised the students resilience and said that she hoped people would accept that some pupils had never had the experience of sitting exams before due to the pandemic.

“Covid has had a detrimental impact” on the “intellectual capacity” of the pupils, she said, adding: “Nothing beats being with a teacher.”

Ms Burnett started her career as a drama teacher in the 1970s and moved to the island in 1995 to teach at the Douglas-based secondary school, being promoted to head teacher six years later.

Reflecting on her retirement she said seeing former pupils succeed after leaving school was a real highlight.

“That for me has been the greatest pleasure… where they’re going to be happy,” she said.

On the timing of her departure from teaching she added: “I want to go when I still love the job.”

Source: Retiring Isle of Man head teacher calls for end to pay dispute – BBC News

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