Mr. Garfield Smith is quite right to express concern about the ‘red’ category given to certain Pembrokeshire comprehensive schools. However, there are issues he mentioned which should be realised:

a) Society and educational aims have changed drastically since both he, and I were at school 50+ years ago !

b) To cast blame on younger teachers as a possible reason for lower standards shows a complete lack of awareness of what is required in today’s schools.

c) Those parents requesting free school meals is not necessarily indicative of educational achievement for their offspring!

As an ex-teacher myself and a mother of two exceptionally keen and enthusiastic secondary school teachers, I am appalled at the amount of additional administrative requirements which seem to take precedence over excellent lessons which these young people have been trained for. Is it really necessary to have to deal with up to 20 emails per evening, for example, during one’s apparent family time?

We are faced these days with groups of 11-year-olds entering secondary education with limited, or no respect for authority, or pride in their school. Some may have specific additional learning needs which may not be fully catered for in mainstream education, whereas others seem purely intent on disrupting the learning environment of the majority of teenagers.

Due to cutbacks, there is limited support for both pupils and class teachers who are expected to deliver a lesson to a whole class, en masse, within a set time limit, whilst dealing with exceptionally disruptive and rude individuals. Heads and senior leadership are under vast pressure from the Government to deliver acceptable achievement statistics (and we all know how these can be misinterpreted), often bound by further misunderstandings of ‘inclusive education,’ resulting in the classroom teacher not only having to deal with completing data for their hierarchy to produce for Inspectors, but also having little, or no backup to deal with the troublemakers.

With the reduction of Pupil Referral Units, heads have additional demands by the LEA not exclude those who disrupt the learning of others.

And before anyone mentions working hours, this additional administration in own time results in an hourly pay-rate equivalent to less than many unqualified jobs. Perhaps Mr. Smith should investigate WHY so many teachers are leaving the profession!

Name and address supplied.