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

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