Bullying attitude saps morale

5th May 2000 at 01:00
I FIND IT difficult to understand the logic of your editorial suggesting it would be naive to scrap Office for Standards in Education inspections in response to the recent suicides (TES, April 21).

One would expect that a system which causes so many mental health problems, including suicide, in teachers and students should be under serious review.

It would be interesting to see figures showing just how many teachers have left the profession through ill-health; how many young teachers are leaving due to unreasonable pressure, and how many children are being referred to psychiatrists and psychologists compared with, say, 25 years ago.

From my own observations I would say there has been a massive increase. Furthermore, I would say that the increase is in direct proportionto the increase in centralised control and rigorous testing and inspecting which can leave teachers and students feeling powerless, demotivated and depressed.

Teachers are on the whole caring, committed, conscientious and extremely self-critical. The bullying "we know best" attitude of politicians, some inspectors and others is a destructive force which is damaging the lives of children and teachers.

If only we could have a system which focused on praise and encouragement, and treated those inspected with kindness and compassion. Perhaps we would have a better society, raise achievement and self-esteem, save millions of pounds on stress-related illness and, most importantly, save lives.

Christine Lees

Islestone Court

Tweedmouth

Northumberland


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