Leading article: Pupil power

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The Independent Online

Cynical parents might assume it is every pupil's dream. They are being invited to go online and rate their teachers. Revenge all round, might be expected to be the order of the day. But don't you believe it.

For a start it's not just any old teachers who are going online, but those rated the best in the country. A new scheme will film the best lessons from top schools like Eton, along with the cream of state schools, and store them on the internet for any participating school to use. Schools are surprisingly insular places. Teachers rarely see one another, or colleagues in other schools, at work. The new scheme will allow best practice to be easily shared around the country. The website will invite pupils to rate the lessons they see and the teachers who come top will get £2,000 for themselves and the same for their schools.

The lesson-sharing might be new but the rating system isn't. Websites exist already which allow pupils to give marks to staff. Contrary to what might be supposed, the pupils generally give fair verdicts. Those who chose to serve the cold internet dish of retribution are usually obvious because their judgements stand out in marked contrast to those of their peers. As in most areas, the light of scrutiny and accountability turns out to be rather illuminating.