ESF - English Schools Foundation

Mum takes dim view of teachers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 June, 2011, 12:00am

It's usually students who find themselves in hot water when they get up to mischief outside school gates and have the rotten luck to get spotted by a teacher.

But a group of English Schools Foundation (ESF) teachers ended up in a spot of bother themselves when the mother of a West Island School pupil caught them larking around on the way to work on the Discovery Bay ferry.

On a morning this month when pupils and staff were excused from normal lessons for a teacher training day, the mother heard one of the teachers 'crowing about how much time ESF teachers get off' and telling his colleagues: 'The last few weeks of term are like a holiday anyway.'

She was so upset that she took a mobile-phone picture of the teachers as they disembarked and sent an e-mail to ESF head of student support Jonathan Straker. The mother, who asked not to be named, said of the main culprit: 'His manner, tone, and the general demonstration of how much he preferred not to be teaching was extremely irritating.

'All this was loud enough to hear from some distance, so I would guess that any other ESF parents on the ferry may well be feeling similarly aggrieved, and any ESF students who might have been setting off for a day out would now know how much their teachers relish the thought of escaping them.'

She added: 'When parents are facing increasing fees and arguments from ESF that this is necessary to compensate a highly professional, dedicated teaching staff, insensitive behaviour like this does not enhance the credibility of your cause.'

The mother received a written apology from ESF director of human resources Charles Caldwell, who told her the teachers involved had been 'spoken to'. Caldwell wrote: 'It is certainly unacceptable if teachers portray that their job is in any way a light one where all they are concerned with is their holidays. The individual who made the comments has apologised.'

Asked about the incident, ESF chief executive officer Heather Du Quesnay said: 'It would be an injustice if the misinterpretation of an overheard conversation led parents generally to think that our teachers ... were anything less than conscientious and committed professionals.'