Letter: `Failing' schools

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Sir: The Chief Inspector of Schools continues to amaze me with his crass simplifications of profound problems. His most recent claims concerning the widening gap between "failing" and "successful" schools could not be more damaging to the schools concerned ("Poor schools blamed on headteachers", 11 June).

I had been in post only one year when the Ofsted team failed the school of which I was proud to be headteacher. The label of "failing school" set in motion a train of events leading to the widening "gap" to which he refers. Although according to the Ofsted team I had "gained the confidence of students, staff and parents", any confidence they had was taken away at the stroke of a pen. Sixty children, all at the more able end of the academic spectrum, were withdrawn during the following few months. This represented 10 per cent of each year group. Despite this, the school managed a 7 per cent increase in grades A-C at GCSE. The school is still in special measures after more than two years.

Although a number of weaker staff were encouraged to "move on" I was unable to replace them since no teacher wished to move to a school in this position.

After 18 months I myself decided that enough was enough and moved out of the teaching profession in the UK and am now happily teaching in the Republic of Ireland. I prefer to teach in an environment where the teaching profession is respected, trusted and not subjected to campaigns of defamation from those from whom they should get more support.


Wexford, Ireland