One rule for teachers, another for their pupils

9th August 1996 at 01:00
If a pupil's work is unsatisfactory, it is not the teacher's fault, but a failing of the pupil.

Why then, if a teacher's work is graded unsatisfactory in an Office for Standards in Education inspection is that not similarly seen as a failing on the teacher's part? Instead - as the anonymous author of "The blackest of Fridays" claims - it may be the result of any of a catalogue of factors other than the quality of the teaching: a poor quality brief inspection carried out by a stranger, at the end of a long day, at the end of a long and tiring term with a classful of pupils with statements and behaviour problems.

Let's, at least, be consistent. If teachers are failed because of faulty assessing, then it is likely that pupils are failed by faulty teaching. No amount of bleating about depression, destroyed confidence and humiliation should be allowed to sway us from that conclusion.

If children were allowed to speak up about the depression, destroyed confidence and humiliation they suffer on being failed, teachers would give in and admit their role in bringing about this state of affairs.

David Mingay 11 Elm House East Ferry Road London E14

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