Why we must be totally honest

17th January 2003 at 00:00
As a head of sixth form, I agree with Bill Hunter that it is essential to "press students to take time and care" with Ucas personal statements. This will certainly entail revision under a tutor's supervision. However, I reject wholesale rewriting by teachers, or inventioninflation of students'

interests.

For one thing, it is not necessary. Every year, I write honest references for weak students, who despite advice, have produced inarticulate, misspelt statements containing little evidence of activity beyond watching TV. However, not one of has failed to gain several offers.

It is vital that teachers are honest not only because that is right but also because that is the only way the Government will trust our judgment. The alternative to trust is far worse. Does Mr Hunter really want to supervise "e-portfolios" which Mike Tomlinson (TES, January 3) says will give a more useful picture of a student's abilities?

Eleanor Benson Christ Church Vicarage 87 Barnston Road Heswall, Cheshire

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