"Disillusioned" teachers should stop moaning and do something else for a living instead, Britain's top primary school head said today.

Tracy Stone (right), head of Rookery Primary in Handsworth, Birmingham, said she had no time for whingers in her school, claiming that those who constantly complained about the job were probably not suited for a career in teaching in the first place.

The 49-year-old said: "Teaching is hard work, there is no doubt about it. But if you enjoy it then I think there is no better job.

"I don't think you can be in teaching if it is something you are not passionate about. If people are disillusioned they need to think about doing something else."

Earlier this month The Post revealed there had been a 30 per cent increase in the number of teachers quitting Birmingham schools over the last four years. They blamed poorly behaved pupils, bad management and an unhealthy work/life balance.

But Ms Stone, who turned round Rookery from a school in special measures, suggested those you quit were probably not suitable to teach in the first place.

"You have to have a natural disposition towards it," she said. "You have to love being with children. I know in the past when I was doing teacher training I found myself with people who didn't seem to like children.

"I thought 'what are they doing here?' Teaching isn't an easy option. It is hard work but if you enjoy it you can get a real buzz from it."

Ms Stone claimed she would quit the profession too if she did not enjoy it and expected others to do the same.

"Life is too short. I don't want people working here who don't want to be here. That is the last sort of people you would want in any industry. I am not into moaning."

Teaching has one of the highest turnover rates of any profession with one in three newly-qualified teachers leaving in the first five years.

A major survey by the General Teaching Council three years ago found a third of all teachers also expected to leave within five years, protesting about workload, Government interference and poor pupil behaviour.

Brian Carter, Midland regional secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said it was wrong to question the commitment of teachers.

"To retain teachers requires a tremendous challenge to make their workload bearable and the learning environment good," he said. "It is the job of a leader and manager in a school to retain staff and not complain about whinging but respond to the whingers."

Ms Stone claimed the current period was a "very positive time" in education, particularly in primary schools with a lot of investment.

The Government has introduced measures to give teachers a better work/life balance with guaranteed marking and preparation time and the introduction of classroom assistants.

Since Ms Stone took over the school in 1998, the proportion of pupils achieving the required level in English has shot up from 29 per cent to 79 per cent. In mathematics, the proportion has gone up from 44 per cent to 60 per cent.

The turn-around is particularly impressive given the challenges faced by the community. Nearly half of pupils are on free meals and there is a high proportion of asylum seekers and refugees.

Half of pupils starting in reception have left the school before the final year due to families moving out of the area.

Ms Stone paid tribute to the support of her staff and the community after receiving the award.

"When I came here children were leaving the school in droves because parents had lost faith and were taking them elsewhere," she said.

"We have had a big job working with the community to get people to stick with us. Now we are full with a waiting list."

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