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Letters to pupils go down well

Almost seven out of ten heads are happy with post-inspection letters being sent to pupils, despite fears by some unions that they would shatter staff morale.

An Ofsted report found that a further 2 per cent believed the letters accurately reflected the main findings, though there were concerns over content and style.

Under changes to inspections introduced in September 2005, all pupils receive a summary of tne inspection findings at their schools.

The letters had angered delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers conference in Harrogate, in May.

Liz Paver, head of Intake primary in Doncaster, said it was the "one thing I would actually strike about". Monica Galt, head of King's Road primary in Old Trafford, said she would not pass on the letters. "What are the children supposed to do?," she asked. "Give the teachers a hard time? Tell them their school is rubbish?"

But the study, of more than 1,500 pupils in 115 schools carried out in April and May, found the letters had won widespread approval. Almost all pupils had access to the letters and believed them a good idea, although a minority, usually secondary pupils, had not read them.

Some children had problems understanding the language and found the formal layout and lack of colour unappealing.

Some secondary councils felt that the tone was patronising, though they supported the letters in principle.

In some schools the letters were discussed as part of citizenship lessons, or in assembles.

The study suggested inspectors consider more appropriate styles of writing for different ages and give more guidance to schools on how the to use the letters. It also advised schools to ensure all pupils read the letter, or have it read to them, and to seek views of children on how recommendations can be acted upon.

www.ofsted.gov.uk

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