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Hear-hear to the head

PUBLISHED: 11:21 23 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:42 05 July 2010

DENES High School headteacher Mick Lincoln is quite justified in his attack on the government for the latest example of political posturing and of how politicians of all parties seem to understand so little of what real education is all about.

DENES High School headteacher Mick Lincoln is quite justified in his attack on the government for the latest example of political posturing and of how politicians of all parties seem to understand so little of what real education is all about.

You only have to look around you to appreciate that people have differing levels of academic ability. It does not make one person more valuable or better than another. It simply means that one has to have different mental apparatus to become a nuclear scientist than it takes to clean his office.

If the school population of your school is heavily weighted with children of a particular academic bent all the amount of league tables, targets, Ofsteds or naming and shaming is going to drive teachers to put brainpower into a child's mind when nature has had other ideas.

Real education is all about developing to the full what talents and abilities individual children have and the genuine skill of the teachers is how much they can help children to discover and develop those skills.

The only way to judge a school is by what happens to the children, how they progress, during their stay there. The crude measures advocated by the politicians have created little more than stress related illness, injustice and false information.

A few years ago my wife and I visited all of the high schools in the area before making a choice as to where we hoped to send our fifth child.

Ignoring politically motivated criteria we made a choice based on what we considered to be true values and we chose Denes High School, even though it meant me driving over the bridge on a daily basis.

We never regretted that choice for a wide range of reasons. How many GCSE passes and at what levels is not the main issue. The real question is how many pupils with innate academic ability failed to reach their potential. On that basis, as in all other areas, we found Denes to be an excellent school.

I write as a retired headteacher whose school topped its area league table and was given an Ofsted report I would happily have written myself.

I was very pleased - but only because it gave me a perfect platform from which I could condemn these forms of judgment which, like most, the politicians have foisted on our schools, are nothing more than a lot of dangerous, time wasting and misleading nonsense.

DAVID BATLEY

Jubilee Road

Pakefield

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