I WAS horrified to read Mike Kent's article on the Office for Standards in Education inspection of his school (Friday magazine, May 26). I was a pupil there, and the year I spent at Comber Grove literally changed my life.
I was at another school where I was desperately unhappy and unable to learn, surrounded by children with severe discipline problems.
My mum happened to be doing a teaching practice at Comber Grove. She explained the situation I was in and within a few weeks I was transferred to the school. I only did my final year at Comber Grove but within that single year moved forward enough to win a place at an excellent secondary school.
I had been bullied and cowed and could hardly believe the atmosphere at Comber Grove. The scool is fantastic; Mr Kent encourages, values, stretches and protects the children in his charge.
Although I was only taught by one teacher in the year I spent there (who remains, in New Labour Speak "my favourite teacher") every one of the staff had my deepest respect.
OFSTED inspections appear to be able to undermine the finest teacher and shake the foundations of the strongest schools, but I'd like Mr Kent and his staff to know the job they do makes an enormous difference. I'm sure I'm not the only ex-pupil who feels they owe an awful lot.
I'm currently doing a degree at university, and without the exceptional teaching in my year at Comber Grove I probably wouldn't be.
86 Buckingham Road