Standards are more important than money

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The Independent Online
FORMER teacher of the year Vic Ecclestone had to create a new job title to carry on his work to raise standards on one of Britain's most deprived council estates.

The special needs teacher at Hartcliffe School in Bristol took up the specially created post of head of extra-mural studies, working with pupils to bring sport and the arts to the comprehensive and its neighbouring primary schools. Thanks to his efforts, children on the tough estate were given access to groups such as the Royal Ballet and the Welsh National Opera, through a range of extra-curricular activities which have helped produce a dramatic rise in GCSE pass rates.

Mr Ecclestone, who has taken a year's leave to help set up an educational charity bringing arts projects to primary schools in Bristol, was named Disney teacher of the year in recognition of his efforts.

He welcomed plans to promote classroom "superteachers", but said giving teachers the time to promote high standards was more important than money. He said: "In my case it was not the money so much as being able to make time available to do the work.