Super heads can work wonders

5th March 2010 at 00:00

The claim made by Professor Bernard Barker in last week's paper, that schools cannot be transformed by an inspirational headteacher, is just not true ("The five assumptions that ensure we fail," February 26).

I have worked in both independent and state schools, as well as with academies, and the overwhelming evidence from all three sectors shows that a strong leader can work wonders on a failing school.

Rather than prescribing the "best" way to make success, we should be giving heads and teaching staff the autonomy to run their schools the way they know is best. This gives them higher motivation, better job satisfaction and a sense of personal responsibility, which in turn lead to well-managed and successful schools with excellent levels of education and pupil care.

Independent schools have been working successfully in this way for years. It is now time for the state sector to follow its lead.

David Hanson, Chief executive, Independent Association of Prep Schools.

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