Wrong people on Fast Track

20th January 2006 at 00:00
Martin Whittaker's article about the relative failure of the Fast Track teaching scheme ("Straight to the summit", TES, January 6) must raise serious questions about the selection process used to recruit people onto it.

The Department for Education and Skills has not revealed what evaluations they made of the effectiveness of the selection process, by far the most expensive part of the programme. I am still waiting for a response to my request over three months ago under the Freedom of Information Act for this information. As a former secondary head who was a fast track assessment centre manager, I have serious reservations about the selection criteria.

The curiously named contractor "Water for Fish" is a firm of occupational psychologists that has no previous experience in the education field. They use generic leadership indicators from the business sector that ignore research on what makes effective school leaders.

For example, the process makes no attempt to assess the values of potential Fast Track teachers, even though Michael Fullen and others have shown that this is a key factor of effective leadership in education. This approach has resulted in the recruitment of bright people who lack emotional intelligence and therefore are incapable of effectively leading schools, and who see teaching as a career rather than a vocation.

Bryan Purvis Grange End, 219 Hale Road Altrincham, Cheshire

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