Nurture changes

Your two-page article on Central Technology College in Gloucester (September 5), was simultaneously inspiring and depressing.

Having been head of one of the school's feeder primaries for more than six years, I know how much local parents appreciate the changes made there. Helen Anthony and her team have overcome huge challenges.

So why did I feel a little depressed? Perhaps my initial pleasure was tainted by Peter Wilby's somewhat resigned summary of the Hawthorne effect ("any experiment works - while it's still an experiment"). Perhaps it was several TES articles on the "mayhem" caused by the National Challenge in the same issue. Sir Dexter Hutt has moved on, and the CTC experiment is over. This year, the school gained 40 per cent target grades at GCSE. Can this be maintained or will a change of staff, a difficult new cohort or another head cause this improvement to be lost?

The governors, staff and head of this dedicated and hard-working school now need strong, continuing support. The good learning environment will need maintenance and nurturing. It has happened too often to schools in challenging circumstances that a short-term improvement has resulted in failure through lack of support. My best wishes for the future to everyone at CTC.

Barbara Curry, Education consultant, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.

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