Threshold training is not so steep

21st April 2000 at 01:00
YOUR reporting of the threshold assessment conferences makes depressing reading (TES, April 7). I wonder, though, whether your reporting is as representative of reality as is the photograph accompanying the story. It is a good picture and great fun: but my experience doesn't match the parallel universe your copy came from.

The conferences I have worked on have been led by excellent and committed colleagues. They in turn have been ably supported by great administration teams. The logistics have been mind-boggling, and it seems almost incredible that the conferences could have run at all, given the numbers and timescale involved.

The Department for Education and Employment has responded to feedback and adjusted materials along the way. Had it not done so, I suspect that there would have been criticism of inflexibility. Constant updats of information have directly answered questions raised by heads at the conferences.

And what of the heads themselves? They have brought anxieties, some anger, and many legitimate concerns, expressed for the most part with patience and great good humour. They have been a pleasure to work with, and it has been stimulating and (almost!) fun to work with them as they have struggled to get to grips with threshold assessment. There has been laughter, but little derision, and excellent discussion and argument, with little acerbity.

It doesn't take rocket science to see that some heads will have departed even more unhappily than they arrived. But even they will have been better informed by the conferences than by your unrepresentative copy.

Dave Hepworth


Mires Lane


Bakewell, Derbyshire

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