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Parents have say in transfers

NASUWT has never denied that the overwhelming majority of Appeal Panel decisions uphold the permanent exclusions. I believe some 95 per cent result in that way.

At best, therefore, these Appeal Panels are overwhelmingly redundant. In the rare number of cases where Appeal Panels take a different view they can, and often do, cause chaos.

NASUWT sees no useful role for such Appeal Panels. Obviously the decision permanently to exclude cannot solely lie in the hands of headteachers. It is absolutely right that parents or guardians have the right of a hearing before a Governing Body.

NASUWT believes that these matters should go no further than the Governing Body.

If the headteacher, and probably the entire staff, together with the Governing Body, form a view that a youngster should no longer be at the school then it is in the interests of the pupil concerned to be removed and placed elsewhere.

That is why NASUWT does not stand in the way of such youngsters being transferred to other mainstream schools if that is the way of giving them a second chance. Obviously, teachers at the receiving school should be consulted. Transfer is appropriate on one or two occasions. Thereafter it must surely be obvious that special provision of one kind or another is required.

I take issue with Judith Judd's assertion ("Cast out by the thousand" Education+, May 1) that the odds are stacked against the parent. At the moment the parent has a right to a hearing before the Governing Body, the right to make representations to the LEA officer reviewing the decision and a third "bite at the cherry" at the Appeal Panel itself. Teachers who have to deal day in day out with such youngsters have no such rights.

Fortunately, however, they have the NASUWT which will intervene and uphold their common law and other legal rights which entitle them to go about their business free from disruption, threats and, occasionally, actual physical violence. In so doing they are also maintaining the rights of other pupils in the school to their education.

Nigel de Gruchy

General Secretary, NASUWT

Durham's research record

Your A-Z on Durham (Education+. May1) fully reflected the University's teaching excellence but left the research picture seriously incomplete. To avoid confusion, could I point out that in addition to the Starred 5 for Geography, Durham has 5s in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Archaeology, History, Music, Applied and Pure Mathematics, East Asian Studies and Theology?

Keith Seacroft,

Public Relations Officer,

University of Durham

Making things is fun

You have at last managed to shut the front door, the last child is belted up, you have chosen your desert island discs (well selected tracks from nursery rhymes favourites, Oasis, Paul Weller), you have the Bible and complete works of Shakespeare. What is that one material possession that you can't live without? The one thing that, if forgotten, even after the cry of "are we nearly there?" has risen to fever pitch, you would be prepared to turn back for, without so much as a second thought. For us, it's our box of Lego.

From two-year-olds to nearly 40-year-olds this one activity has sustained our family through many a fraught few hours.

It therefore comes as no surprise to me, and I suspect thousands of other parents, that Technology, Craft, call it would you may, "making things" heads a recent survey sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation as the subject that 11- to 16-year-olds most enjoy.

There are a number of basic human needs apart from those of food, shelter, etc, and one of those is the need to make things. Everyone wants at the end of the day to present something and say, "look, that's what I have made". Be it the child coming out of school at the end of the day proudly clutching its painted toilet-roll rocket...

Why, then, when our youngsters so enjoy technology, do so few take up careers in this area?

Manufacturing provides goods for the consumer and creates wealth and jobs for Britain. But who seems to care? Government policy over the past few years has eroded our manufacturing industry, engineering apprenticeships are now a very rare commodity.

We currently have some of the best engineers in the world, but are we offering the right opportunities to attract the next generation of engineers?

Nicola Millar

Chartered Electronics Engineer


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