You won't get outstanding results from just anyone

10th August 2012 at 01:00

Michael Shaw offers significant advice when he argues for the centrality of teaching quality to educational outcomes ("Two bonkers events, but one was not so brilliant", 3 August). But research indicates that quality teaching is only half the story. Home background equally shapes results.

TESpro reported on New Zealand's Discovery 1 School ("In your interests", 20 July) at which, from 1993 onwards, teachers wanted to work more with children's own ideas and also involve parents. The school now wishes to include home learning.

This was already being done in Lewknor Village School in Oxfordshire in 1982, when we allowed parents up to half a day a week at home with one of their children. Child, parent and teacher decided what was to be done; a report back to the rest of us was required. More than 25 per cent of families across the full social spectrum took that option, in a community that at the time was high on the country's scale for economical disadvantage. Feedback was unanimously positive.

For decades there have been countless examples of superb teaching. Sadly, they prove beacons of excellence rarely studied and disseminated by decision-makers too obsessed with peripheral, ideological and professional priorities serving political and system ends more than children. Little good practice is new - it just needs better articulation and debate. TES, including TESpro, is a critically useful medium for this.

Mervyn Benford, National Association for Small Schools.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today