4th February 2000 at 00:00
OUR comprehensive serves a mixed catchment area. The staff are resistant to governors' comments, feeling that the curriculum is still professional territory.

First comes the question of Latin. Few comprehensives within travelling distance offer it, and although option groups are small - single figures most years - those parents whose children choose it would say it was an important factor in their choice of school.

Then there is the question of more vocational options in the menu available, and we feel that many parents realise that GCSEs are more important than anything, and would see early categorisation as a backward step.

I cannot deny that a sizeable minority think children should be equipped for jobs more directly, and that schools too often - including ours - run for the academic elite.

How subjects are taught remains a professional preserve. What is taught has been governor territory since the earliest days. You have a perfect right to a say in both the questions you raise. You also have an obligation to consider parent and comunity aspirations in so far as you are able to judge and evaluate them.

There is no doubt that the 14 to 16 curriculum is crowded, especially with the inclusion of citizenship and the increasing pressure to provide more work-orientated choices. You cannot ignore the latter, and a good comprehensive will be responsive to as broad a range of aspirations as possible.

I also think it important that minority aspirations are considered where the budget allows, and like you I find it hard to contemplate the total loss of Latin as a discipline with its implications for language awareness and logical thought. No two schools will respond identically to this dilemma, and some will consider twilight sessions and longer days to avoid choosing at all: even then finance is a pressing motivator.

I hope that you try to get as fair a picture of community feeling as you can. Be assured, however, that it is a judgment in which governors as well as professionals must play a part, however difficult, and the marketing implications cannot be ignored.

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