Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

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No to 'parent power'

An editorial in the Guardian on 18 November on the education white paper echoed what we modestly think was the most sensible perspective voiced on the misguided notion of 'parent power'.

The article stated that the "wise words" of John Dunford summed the discussion up neatly: "Schools want to work closely with parents, not be ruled by them."

No denial of bullying

The association made the front page of the Metro nationwide on 15 November in response to greater powers for heads to fight bullying.

A related article on the BBC website carried our response to accusations that heads were in denial over bullying. President Sue Kirkham strongly rejected the claim which was made by the children's commissioner.

"Far from being in denial, schools are very aware," she said. "Bullying has always existed, not just in schools, but elsewhere. But there is no magic answer."

She observed that changing terminology has not helped: "When a group of girls fall out, they might now call it bullying." And she pointed to the problems caused with bullying by mobile phones, text and emails, which can be difficult to identify.

Restructuring woes

ASCL vice-president Malcolm Trobe and past president Anne Welsh were both prominently featured in the TES on 1 December regarding implementation of TLRs.

While both supported the process in general, they reflected wider concerns about implementation. Said Anne in the article: "I am more stressed this term than ever before. The staffing restructure has been very time-consuming."

Malcolm said that he had written to Ruth Kelly about the impact of TLRs on pastoral care and pensions. TLRs have given the school an opportunity to correct pay anomalies, "but staff are unhappy with a scheme which creates winners and losers," he said.

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