Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders


Fire fighting and remodelling

The example of remodelling quoted in Leader (June 05), in common with other quoted examples, states that heads of year engage in 'fire fighting'. Some schools will replace their role by appointing non-teaching staff.

May I express the contrary view that this fire fighting is more efficiently and consistently carried out by experienced teachers. When they are able to do their job with a degree of authority other staff are better supported in their 'over-hyped focus' on teaching and learning.

HS Pattar, head of the Heathland School, Middlesex

The good news on state education

Most SHA members will agree that the portrayal of state education in the media and by many politicians and business leaders is increasingly negative. Falling standards, poor teaching, pupils out of control, the complete disappearance of extra-curricular activities and sport are viewed as typical.

Having retired recently from headship, I have visited schools, primary and secondary, across the country in various roles and looked at a lot of written evidence, and I know this is a totally inaccurate picture.

Of course there are serious problems, many long-standing, but I believe our schools are far more successful compared with those of the post-war 'golden age' or most western countries than is widely accepted.

I have been commissioned by an educational publisher to write a book, State Schools Since the 1950s: The Good News, to challenge this negative stereotyping.

I would ask colleagues for assistance with the following information on:

  • Exciting recent work in school improvement, especially where unpublicised

  • Individual school exam results, curriculum details and pupil reports etc from schools between 1955-1970

  • First hand experiences of provision in schools abroad, especially local schools

Adrian Elliott


46 Horseman Lane, Copmanthorpe, York YO23 3UE

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