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Why we must open our ears to student voice debate

I usually enjoy Claire Fox's willingness to challenge orthodox views, but her article "Why student voice has gone way too far" (Comment, 18 October) is undermined by the caricature of "student voice" she sets up to be attacked. No one would seriously suggest that the voice of 14-year-olds should be dominant in the appointment of a German teacher. But that does not mean that students' views should not be added into the mix.

My experience is that such a view, although sometimes misguided, is always illuminating. And I know of at least one school that was prevented from making what could have been a disastrous decision about appointing a school leader by a student panel that had the courage to say what the school governors thought but dared not articulate.

My school is pretty traditional and hierarchical. The students respect the staff who teach and care for them. But respect is earned and even students who know their place deserve a voice.

Melvyn Roffe, Principal, Wymondham College, Norfolk.

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