Letter: Struggling schools
Tuesday 09 June 1998
A badly failing school is given a tough, energetic, imaginative head, a highly motivated, mainly new teaching staff, a lick of paint and a few rolls of carpet and, hey presto - a dramatically improved school. The message is simple, and for the Government very pleasing. Failing schools are created by poor teachers. Replace a weak staff by a good one and a failing school succeeds. Nothing to trouble the Chancellor here.
One factor was almost hidden at the foot of the third column: "About 50 children were expelled or suspended during that summer term."
Every teacher in an inner-city school has to face large numbers of difficult pupils, but most can cope with them. What makes the job impossible even for the most inspired teacher is the small number of severely disturbed pupils who are virtually beyond control. Just one such child can wreck a lesson.
In even in the most difficult schools, most teachers would agree that if they could exclude just a couple of dozen such pupils they could transform the place. Sadly, even a handful is virtually impossible. A teacher can be sworn at or assaulted by a pupil only to have to teach the child a few days later.
However, find your school under the spotlight as a failing school and suddenly you can throw out 50 of them. Meanwhile those schools which can just about cope are expected to slog on without relief. No articles praising their achievements, just the reward of finding themselves near the bottom of the league tables as they try to push a declining pool of able pupils through GCSEs whilst trying to keep the lid on the nation's unteachables.
Dr STEPHEN SHAW
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Dennis Rodman will coach the North Korea basketball team - and is preparing a special birthday treat for 'friend for life' Kim Jong-un
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Arts & Ents blogs
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
Coriolanus, theatre review: 'Tom Hiddleston has blazing stellar power'
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
Call the Midwife Christmas special: Behind the scenes with Miranda Hart
Justin Bieber's mishaps and controversies
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Ian Watkins: Police probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >