Openness encourages support and sympathy

24th October 1997 at 01:00
I have just completed Hard Lessons, a three-part television series about under-achieving children for Channel 4, so I was interested to read David Barrie's article on the prickly relationship between schools and the media.

I, too, have encountered frosty and defensive responses to some of my early enquiries, but I quickly discovered that there were as many schools who were open and friendly as there were hostile ones.

Our approach was to be utterly frank and honest from the outset, laying out in detail what we wished to do and promising - in the Blairite phrase - fairness not favours.

In Merthyr Tydfil, Ludlow and London we found schools prepared to be frank about their difficulties as well as proud of their achievements. We found teachers impressively self-critical and with a burning commitment to raise standards whatever it took. We found heads comfortable with the opinions of their pupils.

Confident schools, irrespective of their league table standing, do themselves a service by allowing us, the tax-paying, child-raising public to see one of our most important institutions at work. Secrecy breeds suspicion; openness encourages support, sympathy and respect.


Series producer Hard Lessons October Films Ltd 32 Camden Lock Place London NW1

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now