8th April 2016 at 01:00

At last, problems faced by adopted children are being aired (“Teachers aren’t trained to understand adopted pupils”, Insight, 1 April). There is no magic bullet to eradicate any deep traumas of a child’s life before adoption. Schools have a crucial role in healing traumatised children, but as pointed out by Niamh Sweeney, executive member of the ATL teaching union, there is little training for teachers in attachment theory, either in ITT or CPD.

Guidance for trainee teachers in special educational needs and disability is pitiful. However, Worth Publishing provides informative, readable books in its Attachment Aware School Collection. Tacking on adopted children to the already-strained remit of Virtual Schools will solve little, and only when this area is taken seriously will outcomes for a large cohort of children – fostered, adopted or surviving in dysfunctional birth families – improve.

Kevin Street

Author and education consultant, West Midlands

An excellent piece on adoption and schools last week. We also need to consider the curriculum. Science teaching about inheritance and genetics (your parents have blue eyes, so you will too) is going to impact on an adopted child unless handled sensitively. Topics such as “my family” also have pitfalls, so it’s worth thinking carefully before setting projects such as “creating your family tree”. There’s one subject that can offer many positive adoptive role models: religious education. Christianity (like other world faiths) has insights and stories that help broaden ideas about what a “real family” is – and can remind an adopted child that their story isn’t unique, or second best.

Chris Hudson

Bible Reading Fellowship

Continuing the blame game

Why am I not surprised that government advisers have said that Ofsted must hold schools accountable for teachers’ wellbeing (“Inspect wellbeing to bring workload under control”, Insight, 1 April)? That way, this government can continue to blame schools for the failure of successive governments to recognise the effect that their changes have had on the teaching profession.

The present government clearly has no idea what effect their ideological changes will have on future schooling in England – they’re not concerned, as long as they can blame the schools rather than themselves for any failure.

Mike Rath

Barnstaple, Devon

I’ll wave a banner for whoever I like

Jonathan Simons’ view of democracy is slightly different to mine (Whispers from Westminster, Insight, 1 April). If I feel that the views of a political party match mine, I will happily wave their banners, no matter how many votes they receive. Having had a new contract forced on me by Kenneth Baker in the 1980s and, more recently, being told that my pension was unaffordable while being refused the details – I find his view that there will be plenty of opportunities for us to have our say about universal academisation naive.

John Pearce

Retired teacher, Merseyside

Double standards at the DfE

The Department for Education has failed to meet its teacher-training recruitment targets in 2015 for the fourth consecutive year. How would it, or Ofsted, react to such sustained failure in schools?

Tony Mills

Retired languages tutor, County Durham

The importance of D&T

It was interesting to read about what Rome’s greatest orator could teach modern education (“Do as the Roman did”, Feature, 1 April). It prompts a follow-up question about who else from this era could help us sort out our educational methods.

Vitruvius – Augustus Caesar’s civil architect and military engineer – wrote 10 books on this subject. He said: “The personal service of the architect consists in craftsmanship and technology. Craftsmanship is continued and familiar practice, which is carried out by the hands. Technology sets forth and explains things wrought in accordance with technical skill and method.”

More recent writings suggest that we know perfectly well what design and technology needs to be and do. We need to activate the political power necessary to ensure that D&T meets the prescription of Vitruvius for all our pupils.

Geoffrey Harrison

Professor emeritus, County Durham

Facebook users respond to a TES article about why you shouldn’t leave teaching

“6.30am until 7pm? This should not be condoned or advertised as good time management. It’s a recipe for ill health, plus you end up working for about £8 an hour.”


“Going part time is often when you do the same amount of work for less pay – away from pupils.”


“Being told to work longer hours but be better at time management and schedule every hour of my day to finish everything is why I left the profession. Losing £9k a year was an easy decision when it was that or my mental health.”


“Until we start standing up for ourselves, nothing will change. Why do the unions not suggest a ‘work to rule’ situation? Do your work during PPA and what doesn’t get done, doesn’t get done!”


“People switch careers all the time. I’ve worked in four, including education. If you want to teach, teach. If you don’t, there are plenty of other opportunities out there.”


From the TES Community forums

Exam-factory schools


Exam success is important but the pursuit of academic results is squeezing out creative subjects. Everything students do is focused on exams. Before league tables you did your best for the students but if they didn’t work they got the results they deserved – but now teachers are blamed for their underperformance.


We are under huge pressure to make sure eight-year-olds in Year 4 know weird, wonderful, new grammatical terms. Not because they are useful, but so that they can pass a test before going upstairs to Years 5 and 6.


I keep using the term: ‘best qualified, least educated.’


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