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Largest Protestant school system

I write in response to your front-page story about the John Loughborough School (TES, October 18). I was pleasantly surprised to see that this item was given so much prominence. However, the article contained some inaccuracies.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not a sect, but a well established religious denomination that operates in more than 200 countries, in England since 1978. With a world membership of over 8 million, it operates the largest Protestant school system in the world.

The other issue relates to the qualifications of staff. The article pointed out that only six or seven teachers are qualified to teach in England. The reality, this refers to those teachers having qualified teacher status from the Department for Education and Employment by virtue of having previously worked in the state sector. Teachers whose experience is exclusively in the independent sector would not normally have this designation. I am counted among those who are not qualified even though I have an MA, MBA and EdD. I don't have qualified teacher status simply because I never applied for it, having worked only in the independent sector. All John Loughborough teachers are well qualified and experienced. Indeed, we have trained many teachers in partnership with the South Bank and Open Universities.

Turning to our GCSE results, they are better than the comprehensives in our area. Then, they need to be judged against the average for Afro-Caribbean students rather than the national average. I believe the school needs to be commended for succeeding with a group of pupils who repeated studies have concluded are under-achieving.

Finally, I maintain that grant-maintained status for John Loughborough should not be regarded any differently from a Catholic, Jewish or Church of England school. Why, for instance, should GMS for St Joseph's College in Stoke-on-Trent (as reported in the same edition of The TES) be treated as a matter of fact, while ours is a major social and political issue? It is time to do more than merely talk about Britain being a multicultural society.

Clinton A Valley Headteacher The John Loughborough School Holcombe Road London N17

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