Education is not just for schools

7th November 2003 at 00:00
Your headline "Schools blamed for gun crimes" (TES, October 24) gave a misleading impression of my comments on the conditions faced by inner-city schools. I did not suggest that school leaders or teachers were in any way to blame for children turning to gun crime.

This unfortunate impression was given by the headline which also failed to reflect my call for increased government funding for schools in those areas where the multiple impacts of social deprivation contribute to the temptation of gun crime. It takes the whole community, not schools alone, to educate a child.

This assigns the "blame" you mention in your headline not to the classroom but rather to the corridors of power, to the homes of children and to the streets of every community where guns are all too easily available.

Schools can provide young people with a warm, supportive and caring environment. In some cases teachers provide the only stable adult relationship that pupils have in their lives and, for some children, schools are the only safe spaces they know.

Without the resources to ensure this environment, children exposed to gangs and guns will lose the escape route so many of them desperately need and desire.

Rt Revd Dr John Sentamu Bishop for Birmingham (and Tony Howell Chief education officer Birmingham council)

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