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Anger at naming and shaming

Hackney parents and teachers were alarmed, angry and disappointed by the Department for Education and Employment's decision to name 18 schools - including two in this borough - as failing to respond to "special measures" and send in "experts" to turn them round by the end of September.

New Labour policy in this area raises very serious questions and concerns.

Everyone to whom I have spoken has asked why it was thought helpful to name these schools; doing so runs the risk of creating a blight on necessary progress,such as attracting good new teachers, when there is already a recruitment problem to inner-city schools, and further undermining the morale of teachers working in our schools.

The new central government has a unique opportunity to build a "team culture", rather than the Tory policy of creating a "blame culture", blaming teachers themselves for the consequences of years of underfunding, unconsulted and arbitrary change and a vicious cycle of overwork, crude criticism and diminished morale.

Give us the tools and we can do the job that we all want done: it's good to talk, rather than threaten.

MARK LUSHINGTON, Divisional Secretary, Hackney Teachers Association, 219 Mare Street, London E8

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