Teach First: challenge of success

24th July 2009 at 01:00

You implied last week that the schools with which Teach First worked were not challenging and, to that end, you quoted St Marylebone as high-achieving, which it is ("Teach First exposed: top graduates placed in successful schools", July 10). However, "challenge" and "high performance" are not mutually exclusive terms. Our aim should be for all "challenging" schools to be successful.

St Marylebone is proud to offer a high-quality education to a community subject to significant social deprivation: for example, entitlement to free school meals is about three times the national average; around 60 per cent of pupils speak English as an additional language; 12 per cent are refugees; and the percentage on the SEN register is 30, one in every three pupils.

The school has been involved with Teach First since its inception because teachers trained through the scheme offer the sort of high-quality teaching, creativity, flexibility and commitment that is vital to achieving high-performing status.

We cannot eliminate "challenge" in education, but we can find ways to overcome it and, in this campaign, good teaching is critical. This is the principle that is the foundation of our mission and core to the mission of Teach First.

Elizabeth Phillips, Headteacher.

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