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Letters extra: Flipside to the cult of the "heroic head"

Your article ( Where did the head go?, TES Friday magazine, 27.02.04) highlights how vulnerable head teachers are to be held responsible for pressures on schools which are often beyond their control. This applies particularly in some inner-city boroughs where getting a consistently high quality of teachers, or decent local support systems, is often little more than an illusion.

It is easy to blame head teachers when schools encounter difficulties, but much more challenging - and productive - to look at the reasons why a head teacher who had obviously previously been held in high esteem should later be seen as dispensible.

We seem to be happy to buy into the simplistic equation that the leadership of the head is all that matters to the success or failure of a school. The cult of the "heroic head teacher " as promoted by the Government and OFSTED has a flipside, which includes the lack of humanity and respect shown to some head teachers, as seemingly portrayed in the example in your report.

Phil Goss (Headteacher, Ickburgh School, Hackney 1997 - 2001) Carnforth Lancs

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