'She speaks for hundreds of heads'

27th December 2007 at 00:00
Rebecca Elliott has got it dead right (TES, December 14) and I am confident that she speaks for hundreds of headteachers across the country: in fact virtually every head of a "school facing challenging circumstances". Her description of how she has attempted to deal with some often intractable social, behavioural and emotional issues which we have to try to deal with as barriers to learning before being able to lift student attainment is completely in line with our own actions.

Like Rebecca, we are constantly having to accept "help" from our authority in the form of consultant time, which of course adds pressure to staff workloads and, like Rebecca, we are expected to lift our performance in line with anything that happens to be flavour of the day. We do this amidst threats of closure, political pressure from the government and local politicians, abuse by the head of the specialist schools trust, an Ofsted regime that bases its accountability solely on its data whatever HMCI might say and with the whole panoply of government reform still to do. And we do this with some of the most challenging students.

I'm not being irascible, simply factual, but the net effect is I have decided to call it a day and, like many colleagues, I am retiring. This Government may one day learn that if it wants to see achievement rise in areas such as Rebecca's and mine, it will take a coherent look at schools and their environments. Strip away all the wasted resource and plough the money into carefully considered community uplift.

Alun Pelleschi, Headteacher, Deincourt School, Chesterfield.

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