Celebrate the achievement;Letter

25th June 1999 at 01:00
WE ARE concerned that if readers rely only on your report (TESS, June 4) of the Scottish Schools Ethos Network Conference in Crieff they will miss the essence of the occasion.

There was a wonderful atmosphere of celebration and valuing of people and their achievement; a real pride in learning. This did not emerge at all in your report.

Learning which takes place all over Scotland across a wide range of endeavours was represented. There was a rare and stimulating mix of pupils, parents, staff, school board members, related professionals and members of the community. Many had gone to extraordinary lengths to take part on a holiday weekend. To give just one example, a wheelchair dance was performed by profoundly handicapped, with mainstream children.

Of course, important issues were raised and debated, one of which your report highlights. The network is proud of its tradition of enabling individuals to speak out honestly, in a supportive community and is committed to self-evaluation. However, this conference was essentially about recognising "ethos in action"; about valuing people and their achievements - not a bad aim, you might think, when educators frequently confess to feeling unappreciated.

It is easy to underestimate the energising importance of such events. The grant which makes this possible is from HM Inspectorate - those same "ogres" who are earmarked as causing all the stress. If the Audit Unit had not recognised the strength of people working together to share ideas, they would not have funded a support service like the network.

Let's give praise where it is due. Other countries are showing an interest - including Hong Kong, which sent nine educationists to the conference to glean ideas for setting up a similar system with their own schools.

Judy Arrowsmith

Co-ordinator

Gina Reddie

Administrator

Scottish Schools Ethos Network

Faculty of Education (Cramond), Edinburgh University

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