Heady debate

12th June 2009 at 01:00

Chris Woodhead thinks I'm still seeking closure because I failed to get a headship in the 1980s (Letters, June 5). Who'd have thunk it? The lone gunslinger of education is coming on like Hollyoaks.

No, I was never a head, but I did spend 17 years as a deputy, working with terrific colleagues in an exciting school - although, by Professor Woodhead's criteria, 90 per cent of pupils had the wrong genes.

His response reinforces the point I was making in my letter. I argued: "Don't focus on Woodhead: he'll personalise the issues." His reply was: "Don't listen to Francis; he applied for a headship and I turned him down." Does that mean he would have accepted my argument if it had been advanced by a head?

Chris Woodhead and I were part of a generation of English teachers who started out in comprehensives, and, as it happens, we've both produced memoirs reflecting on our careers and changes in schools. So it's easy to skip the gossip and concentrate on the argument. Readers of his A Desolation of Learning and my Comprehensive View will see the differences.

Paul Francis, Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

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