Knock the sunspots off Year 7

1st March 1996 at 00:00
As a supply teacher, employed in the secondary sector, I travel to a number of schools. In most staffrooms there are the usual gripes about lack of leadership, low pay, low morale, resources and so on.

A new area of complaint, however, has been this year's Year 7 intake. Most schools have complained about this group having a relatively low level of ability particularly with regard to language and literacy skills, as well as poor behaviour.

My wife, also a teacher, works as a peripatetic teacher in another authority. She too has noticed complaints by staff about Year 7 pupils in middle schools.

All this leads me to ask whether there is a problem generally with Year 7? If, as I suspect, there is then, what is the cause? Current favourite causes are: * sunspot activity * fall-out from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster * the national curriculum These are not necessarily in order of importance.

Has anyone else - in other words, the Department for Education and Employment - noticed any problems with other current Year 7's?

ALAN HILL The Old Bakery Manor Lane Kineton Warwick

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