Graded groans

9th August 1996 at 01:00
The article headlined "The blackest of Fridays" (TES, 26 July), about a teacher who achieved a grade 5 in an OFSTED inspection, demonstrates one of the problems with present standards in teaching, namely that of complacency among "experienced" teachers.

It is this complacency - "I was so confident I didn't even bother to look at mine [observation form] until the next day" - which perpetuates the status quo. Why should 20 years of experience render a teacher immune to a grade 5? Throughout my professional life as an advisory teacher and teacher trainer, I have seen grade 5 lessons taught by experienced teachers.

In the case the article refers to, a grade 5 was given for teaching. "No behaviour problems, a good relationship between teacher and pupils" do not in themselves add up to satisfactory teaching.

What about high expectations of all pupils? What about setting challenging tasks for all pupils? If these are absent from a lesson, then a teacher is clearly failing to educate. This is an objective issue and has nothing to do with the number of years of experience. It has everything to do with giving children the education they have every right to receive.

Beate Poole Saxon Drive West Acton London

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