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Money is not the root of all success

IT is an over-simplification for Nigel de Gruchy of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers to dismiss the achievements of city technology colleges as solely the consequence of having more funding and not taking their share of disaffected pupils (TES, November 17).

On the matter of funding, CTCs have to pay their own way as self-managing schools without local authority support. There may be wider lessons here as self-management has very actively contributed to their success.

On the matter of disaffection - some children have behavioural problems, but a well-managed school with an effective working culture and productive learning experiences goes a long way to preventing the psychological problem of some teenagers being translated into disaffection.

There is no evidence that disaffection is an inborn trait in children and I don't like the labelling. The CTC I work for does take the full ability range and is deeply-committed to inner-city pupils' achievements.

What Nigel de Gruchy fails to acknowledge is that in this handful of schools called city technology colleges, teachers have taken on a number of challenges - and risks - with teaching and learning methodologies, curriculum design, working conditions and overall school culture. These in turn have translated into a series of successes that need to be seen as significant.

John Finagin

23 Old Mill Road

Plumstead Common

London SE18

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