Letter: Who is fit to judge who is fit to teach?

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article says "rewarding good teachers well is probably the best place to start". Yes, I agree, but, in the existing state system, who actually knows which teachers are good?

It seems to me the heads seldom do. Their remit does not appear to extend to monitoring their teachers' performance in the classroom.

The heads of department? They are usually full-time teachers themselves; they are better placed, but do they have the time, not to speak of the leadership qualities and skills, necessary to support, develop and monitor improvement in a team of teachers?

The teachers themselves? Of course they have an opinion about their own performance, and some may be aware of gaps in their repertoire, but does anyone seriously ask them about it?

The pupils? Well, it is not usual to ask them whether they think the teaching is good. I wonder why not. Is it a tradition?

Yours faithfully,

Gordon Symons

Stevenage, Hertfordshire

26 January