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Shanghai's advice is a compliment;Letter

Shanghai certainly has some concerns about the "little emperors" as you reported (TES, March 26) but that is only one element of the project the city's education commission is running with the British Council, which I am leading.

Top managers from that challenging and massive city - twice the size of London - have just been here on a study visit to Scotland and England. They spent time in Edinburgh and Cambridgeshire with headteachers, local authority officers and inspectors and also at the Scottish Office and OFSTED, exploring our current and developing policies and practice for school improvement.

That a city with such a well-developed education system and high ambitions is looking to the UK for joint exploration of the best approaches to school improvement is a compliment to education professionals here.

The strengths and weaknesses of recent approaches to inspection in this country have been openly discussed. We are now working with Shanghai to find the best way to combine public accountability for school performance with school improvement through self-evaluation, with support from the local authority and benchmarking to allow schools to make informative comparisons with others.

Our aim is to pilot new approaches during the next year and to find ways to help schools to develop personal and social education. This is an agenda shared by all involved in international school improvement.

Roy Pryke South House Lambden Thorne Pluckley, Kent

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