Unsubstantiated attack on Fife schools

21st July 2006 at 01:00
Your correspondent, "Lawless in Fife" (TESS, July 7), certainly paints a bleak picture when recounting his or her alleged experiences as a supply teacher in a Fife secondary school.

It is a pity that the writer chose the balaclava of anonymity, making it impossible to establish what is fact, what is hyperbole and what, frankly, is fiction.

What can be established is that there are no secondary subject departments in Fife where, for eight months, there was simultaneously no headteacher and no faculty head or principal teacher. There are also no Fife schools where police officers are or ever have been "permanently stationed on the premises".

It is impossible to comment on the other assertions because of the lack of any contextualising evidence. However, statements such as "I witnessed a full-blown pitched battle" and "on most days I could see at least one pupil with a bloody face" are more the stuff of tabloid sensationalism than measured commentary.

The fact is that, while in Fife schools there are, as elsewhere in Scotland, examples of poor, inappropriate and sometimes violent behaviour, the children and young people are for the most part well-behaved and co-operative. This is testament to the skills of teachers who work very effectively within our schools to provide an ordered learning environment.

Schools and the council take their commitment to their communities, their pupils and to their staff very seriously indeed.

Anonymous, unsubstantiated attacks on the professionalism of teachers, the effectiveness of schools and the work of a service committed to working hard to support teachers, pupils and their families can be demoralising. It is hard to understand the motivation behind them.

Kenneth Greer

Head of education

Fife Council

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