Assessors are vital to process

27th July 2001 at 01:00
THE NASUWT has argued for a less bureaucratic threshold system but, as your editorial ("Pointless pay checks", July 13) pointed out, some external assessment is vital if the system is to be fair and consistent.

Unlike the Exeter University team, the NASUWT experience does not lead us to blame external assessors for the system's faults. We found heads, not assessors, were more likely to be the ones demanding mountains of unnecessary evidence.

The Exeter team should not judge the scheme by the wrong criteria. The main purpose of threshold is to reward, not affect classroom practice. Indeed,why fix it when it is working well?

The retention of external assessors is vital to maintain teacher confidence in the system. We have to be wary of heads lobbying to abolish the assessor's role, because a minority are afraid of having their judgments questioned.

Nigel de Gruchy General secretary, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, London WC2

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