The snowball effect

Although agreeing with headteachers is against my principles, my reaction to a teenager snowballing a pensioner is similar to the disbelieving anger of Jonny Mitchell, the headteacher in documentary series Educating Yorkshire ("A school humming a different tune", 30 August).

I do, however, see smoking as a victimless crime and isolation as too severe a punishment. And I would be interested to know what power Thornhill Community Academy's school parliament has - could Mr Mitchell at least adopt some of their suggestions? I suppose that others have also noticed that Channel 4's Educating Yorkshire follows BBC One's Waterloo Road in the schedules - perhaps media studies students should be asked to compare and contrast them?

On another point, I see no reason why failed private schools should be able to get the taxpayer to bail them out, in the Republic of Ireland or anywhere else ("The state sector beckons as cuts bite", 30 August). Let them go broke like any other failed business.

As for how to determine performance-related pay ("Performance pay teeters on the brink of chaos", 30 August) - let the students vote on it. Every May, before public exams, get each student to write down the name of a teacher they deem worthy of a bonus. Anyone with more than 10 per cent of the votes would receive one. Adjustments in the arithmetic for schools of different sizes should not be beyond teachers' ability.

Mark Taha, South-east London.

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