Labour's naming of schools is no answer

30th May 1997 at 01:00
For more than 30 years I have been actively engaged in the Labour party - especially in the past 18 months - by encouraging people in the Greenwich area to vote for Labour, as this would make good sense for both our country and local schools.

To hear that the Secretary of State at the Department for Education and Employment intends to send out help squads to failing schools is not at all helpful for local schools named in the hit list, and the damage will take many years to repair.

In the past few years I have been working in a range of primary schools in the London area, covering eight boroughs. I have found the staff committed to their jobs and working against all odds to provide education for their children.

One of the things I do is to teach children a range of games which they can play in their school playground without equipment; I have found most children and staff willing to try out new ideas.

Many teachers had been anxiously waiting for May 2 when Labour took control, hoping there would be a change from the criticism from the Conservatives, who seemed constantly to put down the teachers. They believed that through Labour they would receive proper recognition and praise for the work they are doing.

I am not a teacher but I have been very impressed by the dedication of these professionals. On the day David Blunkett named 18 schools, I was working in a local school (not one of the named ones), and three teachers with 20 years' experience between them decided to quit the profession altogether.

My message to Labour is to find more positive ways of raising the standards of schools. Naming them is not the way.

JOHN GOODWIN

33 Wickham Lane

London SE2

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