Letters extra: too much additional support is demotivating

15th June 2001 at 01:00

As a teacher whose first job was in Toxteth, Liverpool, I appreciate that the drive to raise standards is crucial. But I am concerned about the emphasis of all the additional support being provided through ELS, ALS, Booster and Numeracy Springboard and the long-term implications of these. I believe we are seriously increasing disaffection, and associated behavioural problems. Children will soon realise that if they don't enter the race then they can't lose.

If children have learning difficulties there is a danger that they will be part of every initiative as they pass through the school. While there is no doubt that extra time with an adult will help children's learning, there will be a demotivating effect on children who will see themselves as always being selected for additional help.

The focus now is on learning to pass tests. This breeds safe teachers who will producenbsp;satisfactory results and get children through Sats, but who won't be inspirational. The curriculum and the assessment procedures do not encourage children to be independent, critical and creative thinkers, or have a love of learning.

We must stop making the children fit the initiatives and instead make the initiatives fit the children or we will reap what we sow in five or 10 years' time.

Dorothy Rickarby
Headteacher, Malvern Wells CE primary school, Malvern, Worcester

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