Keeping a good thing going

24th June 2005 at 01:00
In his comments last week, Jim Docherty of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association chose to repeat a sadly stereotypical and mistaken view of East Renfrewshire as nothing more than a leafy suburb to explain why only 14 per cent of his members in the council's employment indicated that they wished to retire early.

He said that the area "represents the leafy suburbs and has fewer discipline problems and related stress".

Mr Docherty, however, might be surprised to learn that 10 other Scottish councils receive less Scottish Executive regeneration money than East Renfrewshire.

Our recent HMIE report put East Renfrewshire in its true socio-economic context when it stated: "Overall, while the council area was relatively affluent, several indicators indicated it was more deprived than its comparator councils . . . a small proportion of the population lived in areas that were within the 10 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland."

The real reasons why teachers choose to both teach and continue to work in East Renfrewshire are good ethos, positive attitudes, good support systems, effective staff development and the council's commitment to resourcing the education service.

The most important factor of all, however, is the excellent relationships teachers have with our young people and the ability of our teachers to deal with the challenges they face. By seeking to concentrate on the myth of the East Renfrewshire leafy suburb, Mr Docherty lets down his own members who are very much part of the success story that is East Renfrewshire.

We are much more than that leafy suburb, and it is gratifying that our attempts to close the gap between well-off and poor has been recognised by HMIE. This is proof positive that there are socio-economic challenges being met effectively in East Renfrewshire to the benefit of all, pupils, parents, the community and, please note Mr Docherty, teachers alike.

John Wilson

Director of education

East Renfrewshire Council

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