Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Leaders' letters

Small vs large

I'd like to offer my 100 per cent support for the stance taken by ASCL on the headline issue in this week's e-newsletter ('Large is not necessarily bad, nor small beautiful' 11 Feb).

As principal of a school with over 2,000 students, which was categorised by Ofsted in March 2007 as having outstanding student behaviour, I would be delighted to be quoted as a case study in the campaign to convince government that the quality of leadership is the key factor - not the size of the school. There are many advantages which come with size, which cannot be replicated by smaller schools.

Jerry Oddie, Principal, Collingwood College, Camberley

Size really does matter

Please be careful in your response to the issue of school size raised in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme. Many members leading smaller schools feel threatened by recent proposals to increase school size. Dispatches helped to change the balance a little! Many members, certainly where I am, actively believe in the benefits of small schools. Ofsted reports are not what many of us are guided by nor are raw results but experience and atmosphere and the absence of subgroups and gangs are, if not measurable, very real.

Jim McAtear, Head, Hartismere High, Suffolk

ICT upgrade

I was delighted to read that future issues of Leader will be focusing on ideas for saving money. I would be particularly interested to hear members' views about ICT costs.

Now that revenue grants for ICT have been subsumed into formula capital, the laptops that teachers received under the national scheme are reaching the end of their life and e-learning credits money has ended, it is difficult to see how ICT expenditure can be sustained.

That is the significant word of the moment - sustainability. With the built-in obsolescence of software and hardware having an industry expectation of three-year lives for so much ICT equipment, there is also a moral debate to be had about what schools can and should be doing as regards replacement and upgrading.

These are extremely important matters which ought to be part of our national debate as an organisation and with government.

Mark Mallett, Head, Chew Valley School, Bristol

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