Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

In the news

Back the Welsh Bac

ASCL Vice President Brian Lightman, Head of St Cyres School, led a protest against an article in the Western Mail on 25 October heavily criticising the Welsh Baccalaureate and its roll-out across Wales.

To its credit, the Western Mail printed several letters, including one signed by Brian, ASCL Cymru Secretary Gareth Jones and 30 others, pointing out the flaws in the article.

The letter said: "In undertaking our professional responsibilities we use objective evidence. That was sadly lacking in the coverage your newspaper gave to the Welsh Bac announcement."

It added that the bac was "one of the most exciting educational initiatives that Wales has ever undertaken and one in which we should all take great pride."

'Failing' schools

ASCL's condemnation of the Public Accounts Committee's report on failing schools was widely reported. The front page story in the Times carried a quote from John Dunford saying that the report was "misleading and damaging". See page 9 for ASCL's full response to the report.

Sacking heads

A related article in the Sunday Telegraph on 21 October stated that the rapid hiring and firing of heads at under-performing schools was failing to have an effect on improvement.

An analysis of nearly 600 schools that failed Ofsted inspections between 2003 and 2005 showed that 75 per cent sacked the head in the run-up to the inspection or in the year after it.

John Dunford backed up the claim. He was quoted in the article as saying: "When improvements don't happen quickly, governing bodies and local authorities put pressure on the head to leave. In many schools, there are external circumstances that must be dealt with before leadership can have an impact on school improvement."

A recent survey found that just four per cent of teachers were considering applying for promotion.

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