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Many teachers would be alarmed to be singled out in the press twice, especially if journalists said they would not want that teacher teaching their child. But David York (below) is secure enough in his ability not to be fazed.

Mr York, a teacher at Dowdales School in Cumbria, was quoted in an article in The Observer in August. "You have to ask yourself why some children aren't getting five A*-Cs at GCSE," he said. "Some are just not capable of doing that."

The quote was next to an upbeat comment from an academy teacher who said her school had high expectations of all pupils and did not "make excuses on the basis of background or culture".

The journalist concluded: "I know who I'd rather have teaching my kids." The implication was clear: it would not be the brutally realistic Mr York.

Last week Dominic Lawson, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph, repeated the same quotes in an Independent article, agreeing with the conclusion.

Teachers on The TES website have come to Mr York's defence, saying both teachers' comments were right: schools can have high expectations and recognise some pupils cannot meet the exam targets.

Mr York said he did not find the criticism offensive. He has achieved high results with all the pupils in his GCSE electronic products class.

"I put my outstanding success down to immaculate preparation of my lessons, a thorough knowledge and understanding of my subject and a passionate commitment to all my students," he said.

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