We make no apology for all our hard work

8th April 2011 at 01:00

As a staff community, we were disgusted by the sensationalist headline of the article, "Primary superhead's 'Stalinist' regime leads to walkout" (1 April). However, having experienced first-hand the antics of the quoted representative of Hackney NUT, Mark Lushington, I am no longer surprised.

Mr Lushington has launched an attack on our executive head Greg Wallace. Hackney NUT has not acknowledged the fact that Whitmore has made inadequate progress, that some children in the school are up to three years behind their school age, and that parents are desperate to see new teaching methods introduced. To let the school continue without a new direction would mean failing these children.

Mr Lushington claims in your article: "The teachers are already being pushed enormously hard and two are already off with stress." Yes, we are asking teachers at Whitmore to work hard to raise standards, but surely this is the reason we all entered the profession? Yes, we do work long hours; yes, we do make sacrifices to give children the best. For that we make no apology.

Mr Wallace is driven by and for the children; he has clarity and vision and a proven track record of turning around underperforming schools.

In contrast, I believe Mr Lushington represents a period in Hackney that defended poor-quality teaching over the needs of children, a period of what could be dubbed the "Hackney anti-accountability movement". It was a period of banners and placards against testing, Ofsted and other measures that sought to hold teachers to account for the outcomes of the pupils in their care.

I'm proud to have grown up in Hackney and to be part of the Best Start Federation. Working alongside Mr Wallace, I have learnt what first-class teaching and learning should be. I do not believe that Mr Lushington represents the views of NUT members and certainly not the NUT members at Whitmore. As a former pupil of Mr Lushington, had I known then what I know now, I would have issued him with a teacher support plan.

Penny Smith, Head of school, Whitmore Primary, Hackney, east London.

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