Chalk Talk: The 'culture of fear' is not just in the classroom


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The Independent Online

* Readers may recall the fearless private school head Steve Fairclough, of Abbotsholme School in Rocester, Staffordshire, who said performance-related pay for teachers should be used to create a "culture of fear" in the staff room.

His comments, made at a Westminster Education Forum seminar, incurred the wrath of teachers' union leaders – and he was even criticised at a Commons education select committee meeting by none other than the chief school inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw. Turns out he may not have been as fearless as we thought.

If you read through the transcript of the conference, you won't find his comments there – just a note saying Mr Fairclough had asked for his contribution to be withdrawn.

* Some interesting statistics are emerging from the New Schools Network, the charity that helps organisations with their bids to become free schools. They show that a growing number of schools are offering an all-through education for children, right the way from five to 16 or 18.

The figures show that, by September, there will be 28 free schools offering this kind of provision, with 12 new ones opening in that month alone.

They appear to be gaining in popularity because they offer continuity and consistency throughout a child's education.

There's not that fear of moving to "big school" at age 11, either, because the children are already familiar with their surroundings.

* The Association of Teachers and Lecturers made a laudable attempt the other day to draw attention to the growing impact that pornography is having on today's children.

Unfortunately, though, its press release highlighting teachers' concerns contained too many mentions of the word "pornography" and was therefore blocked by some email filters.

Undaunted, it rewrote the release changing the word to "p**nography" instead. Fortunately, it got through.