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Standards must be maintained

As a retired head, I am greatly saddened to hear of the shortage of well-qualified applicants for a post which I found stimulating and rewarding.

I admire the governors of the Stoughton infants school in Surrey for not accepting the easy option of appointing a lower-qualified candidate as their head, as I fear other governing bodies have been encouraged to do (TES, December 5).

I have a colleague who has recently been on a selection panel for the headship of her school, who was firmly told that her expectations were too high, even though she based them on the leadership standards set by the Government. The local authority representative stressed that the current situation was dire and they had to accept the best of a poor bunch.

This attitude, and the apparent acceptance of the lowering of standards, can only adversely affect the education of our young people.

I well understand the pressures of the job, and know that it needs exceptional people to take it on. I am very concerned that pressure is apparently being exerted on governors to accept candidates in whom they have little faith. Well done, Stoughton, for recognising the strengths within their school, and finding an attractive compromise.

VA McLaren 105 Cudham Lane North Orpington, Kent

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