I thought I'd drop you an email to congratulate ASCL on the exemplary service I have received in the past fortnight.
I retired in March, but took up a part-time post in mid-September at another local school, as a professional mentor to new staff. After my application was processed I received two, somewhat contradictory, forms about pensions. Thus two weeks ago I contacted ASCL to hear my membership had been 'archived' - I hadn't realised this.
Nonetheless, my query was dealt with, following a link with Membership section, where I was dealt with with the utmost courtesy and efficiency.
Things continued to remain complicated at my end, so I was referred to David Blake (pensions consultant). I contacted him by email on Friday. I didn't dream my issue would be dealt with so quickly. When I checked my email on Monday, when I discovered a comprehensive, and extremely helpful (financially!) reply.
Thank you to all at ASCL for your high quality and knowledgeable support.
Stephanie Atkins (Aka Bedford, when Head at Angley School). Kent
One measure too far
I have to respond to one of the lines in David Peck's interesting and thoughtful article entitled 'Talk to the Hand' (September 2006).
He says: "Any measure which results in parents being better equipped to support their children and having a stronger supportive relationship with teachers can only be beneficial."
I do not buy into this. Teachers are already working hard. Every measure that increases workload has another detrimental effect elsewhere. You must weigh that detrimental effect against the benefit in order to calculate whether the change is beneficial.
Let me exaggerate in order to clarify my point. Suppose you ask for a full weekly report on every pupil, with a weekly parents evening to discuss it. That would be a great help to parents, but the damage it would do elsewhere (teachers having breakdowns, unable to find time to set or mark work, having to ask classes to undertake pointless tasks while they write endless reports) would be so great as to make the measure highly detrimental.
Martin Garrod, Deputy Head, King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys, Birmingham
Fight for pay and conditions
I refer to page 5 of the September 2006 issue of Leader and the article entitled 'Fight for pay and conditions'. I simply wish to say that I absolutely disagree with the suggestion that the 'top job' of headteacher/principal etc might be filled by a person without QTS.
The core business of schools is teaching and learning. A headteacher/principal without a background in teaching would have no credibility with the teaching staff at all.
I am normally a great admirer of ASCL's strategic vision, but I feel on this occasion it is not representing the views of the majority of ASCL members.
Peter Earnshaw, Deputy Head, Wirral Grammar School for Boys, Bebington
And in English...
Clearly Ofsted reports are no longer read with the same attention to detail as in the past. The following paragraph appeared in our report and in six months was not the subject of a single comment from anyone. (Unless of course, a new word had been invented by our Adobe Reader - or QCA.)
What the school should do to improve further:
"andmiddot; raise standards in English in both key stagesandmiddot; improve students' progress especially in Years 10 and 11 andmiddot; increase the proportion of good or better teaching andmiddot; improve assessment for learning for all students."
I pointed it out to Ofsted and gave them an opportunity to improve.
David Jones, Head, Toynbee School, Chandlers Ford, Hampshire
Please share your views with ASCL and other members. If there is an article in the magazine or a current issue in education that you would like to comment on, please put it in a letter to the editor. We welcome views that do not necessarily follow ASCL policy.
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