How helping heads might distract;Letter

13th March 1998 at 00:00
Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, is quite right to want to "find ways of attracting the most able heads into the most demanding schools by giving them the best possible rewards". However, he is quite wrong to suggest, as he did in his recent annual lecture, that such rewards could include paying them bonuses if the pupils in their schools do well in exams.

Why should one person be rewarded for the work undertaken by many? Schools are not examination factories dependent alone in the managerial skills of a director. They are collegiate institutions where any measurable product is the outcome of a host of collaborative efforts from pupils and staff.

What heads do need are a set of reasonable managerial tasks which enable them to practice that which they are expert in, that is, teaching. They need, as do all teachers, tolerable working conditions and appropriate administrative support.

Mr Woodhead needs to ask himself his own question: will rewarding heads in this way "help teachers better or might it distract them from their key task?"

GEOFFREY CARVER

Senior professional officer Professional Association of Teachers Friar Gate Derby

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