Letter: Small-scale schools

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am chairman of governors at a First School (ages five to eight) in a very rural area. The school has fewer than 30 pupils with a staff of a headteacher and part-timers who provide a further six sessions each week. John Patten's proposals for teacher- training for teachers of young children raise anxieties in such schools, which are more numerous than his city-based assumptions allow.

A school of this size does not have the elbow-room to allow it to take part in school-based training. Only these very small schools have classes with more than two age groups taught together. How then will trainees gain any experience of the skills such classes need? And if trainees newly recruited to the profession go only to larger schools, how will these smallest schools be able to meet the staffing costs of the rest, the more expensive, older staff who alone will have the relevant skills?

Looking 15 years ahead, where will the next generation of first and infant school headteachers come from?

Yours faithfully,

JOHN PEARCE

Lower Dean, Bedfordshire

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