Letter: Above all, pupils need hope

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Sir: In the debate over pupil achievement, no one has mentioned the single most important factor - motivation. I chair two school governing bodies in Cambridgeshire. In this county the number of pupils going into employment at 16 is only 9 per cent. At 18 years old it is just 11 per cent. If they cannot see the financial advantages of better results in public exams many pupils are not motivated to study. Those who are not attracted by academia are doomed to many years of apparently pointless and almost endless education.

It would be easier for schools to motivate these pupils to achieve if there were real jobs waiting for the keen 16- or 18-year-old.

This morning I watched one of my pupils cycling to "work experience", genuinely excited by the prospect of a day of real work where he will be able to pretend he is an adult, doing something useful. His next experience of work is likely to be six years hence. And at 15, six years is a very long time.

The Rev STEPHEN LEEKE

The Parish Churches of Warboys

with Broughton and

Bury with Wistow

Huntingdon

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