Anti-accountability taken a step too far

1st February 2013 at 00:00

Tom Finn-Kelcey certainly got something off his chest last week ("Missing: genuine trust in teaching profession", Comment, 25 January) and he is right that safeguarding in schools has probably gone too far on occasions. But it is a huge leap from there to claim an all-pervading lack of trust.

OK, people don't any longer simply accept the word of professionals without proof of performance. Are they wrong or are they right to hold professionals to account? Schools today are risk sensitive; the worst are risk averse. He seems to argue against scrutiny and accountability but then claims greater levels of openness in society generally should lead to a higher level of trust. Eh? Openness, surely, invites scrutiny and challenge.

Criminal Records Bureau checks are not wrong but multiple checks and regular repeats are. However, Mr Finn-Kelcey takes his thin premise and extends it as a universal proxy for the destruction of trust per se - a few sideways swipes at "paperwork" before he gets to Ofsted, which has the temerity to speak to the children about how safe they feel. Am I missing something? Wouldn't you want to know how safe children feel in school? And this is more likely to be about bullying and what's done about it. So, well done for urging us to rein back the idiocies of the "safety zealots" but please don't stretch a point until it sounds like any old cynic having another staffroom rant.

Dr B.T. Wratten, Headteacher, Churchill Academy and Sixth Form, Somerset.

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