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Why we must open our ears to student voice debate

I have recently retired after 15 years as a secondary headteacher. Regarding your editorial, I agree with the basic argument that the relationship between teacher and taught is, and should be, an unequal one. However, I think that using student panels as part of the process of making staff appointments, and especially to feed back to staff on learning experiences, can be extremely valuable. We used to open staff meetings with a session led by different groups of students - for example, those with special educational needs. These had more impact on staff attitudes in 15 minutes than whole training days (and, I fear, TES articles). The anxiety we all felt during the SEN session, anticipating that we might be chosen by the students to read out text that had been scrambled to replicate what it was like to be dyslexic, was a chastening experience.

Elliott Furneaux, Former headteacher.

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