A democratic revolution

IN his letter Roland Meighan (TES, June 21) rightly applauds Sir Christopher Ball's vision (TES, June 7) of optional secondary schools. If we are not ready yet to take even that step (let alone adopting Mr Meighan's bolder approach of doing away with schools as we know them), it is surely time that we were serious about giving young people at least some say in their education.

Where pupils have real power, usually through a school council, they invariably learn to use it responsibly, and their schools become happier, more co-operative and less stressful places where bullying and disaffection are reduced and attainment raised. Research demonstrates this beyond doubt, yet the system of which Mr Meighan is rightly so critical continues to adopt the Alice-in-Wonderland stance of requiring schools to teach Citizenship without demanding that they practise it through any kind of democratic or even consultative process.

If policy-makers had the courage to embrace the notion of participation and empowerment in schools (for teachers and pupils) instead of prescription and enforcement, we might well find ourselves moving rapidly and positively towards Sir Christopher Ball's vision. It would be a revolution indeed, but a quiet, peaceful and entirely positive one.

Dr Bernard Trafford Headteacher Wolverhampton grammar school Compton Road Wolverhampton

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you