Letter: Proud of exam success

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The Independent Online
Your leader comment ("These starred As are good news for Britain", 22 August) rightly celebrates the steady improvements in GCSE results over recent years. It was alarming however to read the opinion that the "hurdles" for schools "need to be raised continuously" so that teachers "never start to believe that they can level off".

The philosophy that "if you're not improving, you're failing" is a tough one to live with. Such demands take no account of the professional and personal needs of the beleaguered teachers. The demands for continually raised standards must be seen in the context of the plummeting level of teacher morale.

The trends are inexorably downwards in levels of support for teachers from parents, communities and the media, in levels of discipline, respect and motivation from pupils, and in levels of funding for schools and salaries. Teachers are required to swim continuously against this tide of decline and are expected to do so in such a way that they actually succeed in reversing it.

The overwhelming majority of teachers would leave the profession tomorrow if they could, and applications for teacher training continue to slump as does the calibre of those that do apply. Will it require a massive crisis in staffing levels before teacher morale is taken seriously?

NEIL STOBART

Sutton Coldfield,

West Midlands

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