We'll do it - Medway

10th August 2001 at 01:00
I was fascinated by the anonymous contribution (attacking Kent's selective schools system) in your Talkback section on July 20 ("Kent system fails us all").

I can't comment for Kent County Council, but can recognise some features your writer describes. What I fail to recognise is the negative picture of teaching.

I was the architect of the research by the Institute of Education in 1999 to which your writer refers. Medway (Kent's urban authority) used this material in its first year as a local education authority to generate debate about the achievement we should be aiming for. I think it is fair to say now that none of us believed we were realising our potential.

Teacher recruitment and retention has been a priority over the past two years. We have some of the most innovative initiatives you will find anywhere in this area.

Medway has raised funding of education significantly, our capital programme is substantial and our track record on bidding for action zones and other initiatives is outstanding. We are committed to raising aspiration and there is evidence that we are succeeding.

We have fewer schools in special measures or serious weaknesses; standards are rising. The Office for Standards in Education confirms that the quality of teaching in Medway schools is improving faster than the national average. I could go on, about our outstanding adult learners, our Youth Parliament and much more.

There's lots we still need to achieve in Medway, but it's far from the desolate learning environment your writer portrayed.

Richard Bolsin Director of Education and Leisure Medway Council, Strood Rochester, Kent

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