A different view through the lens

15th November 1996 at 00:00
The front-page photograph published by The TES on November 1 must be one of the most arresting images of recent years. What you see is three professional cameramen taking a shot of a gentleman in a suit; a plump, pompous inspector leaving a school; and two boys standing behind him looking threatening, even menacing.

My personal observation of Mike Tomlinson, the Office for Standards in Education head of inspection, is that he is neither plump nor pompous, and anyone who has ever taught Year 9 can tell you that the two boys are just standing watching. The genius of the photograph is that it is a lie. It purports to show the innocence of the press, behind it lies the danger of the press.

I would not shed a single tear for the staff at The Ridings School. They or their union chose to make their situation public and I guess they paid the price for that last week. The losers, who deserve all our tears and our shame, are the 600 students of The Ridings School.

Is there no stopping the damage that the press is prepared to do to get a story? When charged with destroying the education and perhaps even the life chances of at least some of these young people, they will reply that the "people have a right to know". Is that acceptable either morally or ethically? Do we in England love our children so little that we can allow this to happen to them? Last week I was ashamed to be English, ashamed to be a teacher and ashamed to be a reader of The TES.


29 Thundercourt



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