January 17, 2017 at 03:15AM
Fiona Millar erroneously portrays ASCL as reflecting rather than challenging government policy (Anti-academy head squares up to establishment elite in union election, 10 January). Nothing could be further from the reality. The association has robustly challenged government policy on many issues and continues to do so. ASCL currently campaigns vigorously for improved funding for schools and colleges, and for urgent action to address the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention. ASCL is not in a “comfort zone” about these or any other issues, as a study of my press statements would immediately reveal.
ASCL is playing a leading role in fighting for improved funding and teacher supply, often alongside other education unions and associations. The association has argued directly to ministers and in public that a properly resourced education system is essential to the life chances of young people and the future economic wellbeing of the country. I make no apologies for taking a constructive approach to negotiating with government, or basing arguments on evidence, because this is the most effective way of achieving results.
The government’s recent decision not to press ahead with controversial plans to introduce mandatory Year 7 resits, and a number of concessions it has made over compulsory entry to the English baccalaureate, were a result of ASCL pressure. ASCL’s policymaking is proactive and forward-thinking, and it is set by our members through ASCL Council, an elected body made up of serving school and college leaders. ASCL exists to serve all its members and campaigns on their behalf, and will continue to represent their views vigorously.
Interim general secretary, Association of School and College Leaders
• I wonder if any other readers shared my sense of irony on seeing in today’s Education section – two pages after the harrowing first-hand accounts of the damage to state schools’ provision of support services for vulnerable pupils – an advert from that renowned charity, Eton college, for a clinical psychologist to join their existing team, whose work will include “a coaching service to the staff, the delivery of resilience programmes to both boys and teaching staff and more general participation in the design and delivery of … the wellbeing modules in our Personal, Social and Health Education Programme”. I am shocked and sorry to discover that the lives of the boys and staff in this privileged establishment are so bereft of wellbeing and resilience.
Weston Oakham, Rutland
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