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Cannot tolerate this behaviour

What a week! First, the Secretary of State for Education has indulged in transparent vote-chasing with her rallying cry of "zero tolerance", then the chief inspector of schools has yet again demonstrated his great insight by having a go at "failing" schools. Faced with this terrible situation, we could do worse than take a leaf out of Postman Weingartner's book (Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Penguin 1971) and practise our crap-detecting skills.

Does Ms Kelly not realise that relationships, not punishments, are the foundation of effective learning and positive behaviour? Does Mr Bell not realise that labelling schools as failures is the best way of ensuring that failure will continue to be a feature of the educational landscape?

If we point our crap detectors in the right direction, I feel confident that we shall find that both secretaries of state and chief inspectors have failed to improve for years. How long can we go on tolerating the behaviour of either?

Paul Howard 5 Butterfly Court Vicarage Lane East Ham, London E6

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