Estelle failed our teachers

1st November 2002 at 00:00
I AM rather surprised that The TES (October 25) should feel that Estelle Morris "managed to retain the respect and affection of her erstwhile colleagues". As teachers understand only too well, respect is earned by knowing what you are doing and doing it well. Your "Timetable of Trouble" shows only too clearly that Estelle Morris failed dismally in both these areas.

In addition, her behaviour over the A-level scandal makes it difficult to see how she has "never attempted to shirk responsibility" for Department for Education and Skills business. We all know that there is no smoke without fire and the inquiry into grade-fixing was a farce, resulting in a pathetically small number of upgrades. So much for doing justice for the poor A-level students who have lost their university places - mine are still trying to work out why there was such a huge discrepancy between their marks for the various papers they sat.

Her first reaction to this was not to offer her own resignation but to sack Sir William Stubbs, head of a DfES quango presumably going about the department's business.

Teachers need an Education Secretary who can support them and whose ability they can have confidence in. Estelle Morris was not able to provide support or engender respect. After such a catalogue of incompetence her position was simply untenable. She had no option but to resign.

Alex Smith

40 Scotts Lane

Bromley, Kent

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