Anxiety tips balance too far into dark

26th May 1995 at 01:00
Michael Barber is rightly anxious to make an issue about failing schools on "the dark side of the moon" (TES, May 12). His anxiety tips the balance too far.

Are the criteria by which schools fail really so objective and crystal clear? A lot more needs to be done to refine "decontextualised raw results".

Whence come the replacements for unregenerate failing teachers so ruthlessly identified? Why is he so ready to dismiss, rather than work with, the concerns of the teacher unions?

He is wrong to suggest that the Office for Standards in Education needs only to inspect failing or struggling schools. Agreed, the system could be scaled down, but it is vital to scrutinise excellent schools in order to establish the dynamic standards against which others may be judged and, more importantly, by which they may be guided.

A more collaborative stance might be a better way of ensuring that no child becomes "another brick in the wall".

A D BYRNE OFSTED inspector (writing in a private capacity) The Old Orchard Church Lane Awbridge Romsey Hants

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today