November 18: Innovative thinking for better schools

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From: Jo Conway, Ellis Court, Harrogate.

I WRITE in response to the article ‘School leaders urged to invest in their staff – Developing teachers improves results’ and Comment ‘No excuses over teacher morale – schools must go the extra mile’ [The Yorkshire Post, November 13].

Although a retired teacher of 25 years, I was and still am passionate about early education and the successful acquisition of ‘the basics’ for all children before they leave primary school.

I was so passionate that I patented a multi-functional synthetic phonic and numeracy board – a resource for children, teachers and importantly parents too. Everyone needs to work collaboratively to develop children’s basic knowledge and skills and empower them.

I attended the ‘Educated Yorkshire’ conference in Bradford and was inspired by David Weston, the founder and chief executive of the Teacher Development Trust.

In his seminar he highlighted as you said ‘the link between allowing teachers to develop and improve and the success of the school’.

This is so, so true. The environment in which teachers and teaching assistants work has to allow them to continually develop, improve, flourish and grow. This is exactly the same environment in which children thrive.

I was fortunate in having an inspirational headteacher who encouraged creativity. This ‘outstanding’ headteacher went on to much greater things.

As David so correctly said, we need to keep teachers’ creativity and enthusiasm for teaching alive and well for years and years. We must therefore invest, encourage and promote creative practitioners. Establishing this effective and ‘feel good’ learning environment is essential for the wellbeing of all.

It is so important to establish an environment in which ‘face to face’ communication and collaboration thrive so that deeper understanding of knowledge and skills can be fostered. It is after all, not only adults but children too who flourish under these favourable, social and inclusive conditions. It has been said that ‘teacher innovation is often hidden’. This is so very true. Why is this the case?

Let’s encourage and foster innovative thinking in all our pupils and teachers and encourage them to ‘think outside the box’. They all have talents and skills so let’s invest and play on these to create a ‘character building’ culture and in turn ‘lifelong learners’.

People left out of this debate

From: Keith Kaye, Easton, Road, Bridlington.

FURTHER to your correspondent Geoffrey North (The Yorkshire Post, November 13), the sad fact is that despite the Government insisting the devolution issue should be settled at a local level there has been little or no effort by local councils to consult with ratepayers, local councillors to debate in full council or Yorkshire MPs to seek a debate in Westminster.

On a matter of this importance to the county, and its residents, this demonstrates a shameful lack of public responsibility. If regional and local politicians and their officers, expect support from the electorate, then involve us now in the biggest potential change in Yorkshire governance for a generation.

Old party has to carry can

From: Mr C J Penn, Holcroft Garth, Heldon, Hull.

THE Tories have given us some serious problems in our health and education services.

Not to mention our steel industry, which is on the verge of collapse.

They are on their own now, with no coalition partner to blame.

They are of course a very old political party, established in 1830, and a party that is part of the past.

Downside of bag policy

From: Trev Bromby, Sculcoates Lane, Hull.

THE plastic bag saga continues to rock Britain, Scotland, the 5p per bag pioneers claim an 80 per cent reduction in the first year. Richard Lochhead, the Environment Secretary at Holyrood, hails this as a major success.

Well, that covers the front door of the venture. Now we’ll take a look at the back door: since the charge was introduced in England I, for one, have stopped incidental buying.

For example, I always look round a store to see ‘what’s new’, when I’ve just called in for one item.

I would often come out with a (carrier) bagful, now I just go in for specific items and I will only buy ‘extras’ if they fit in my pocket.

We must believe this is probably the mindset of many people thrughout the country, with impulse buys becoming a thing of the past.

No praise, just amger

From: Michael Ross, Weeton Lane, Dunkeswick, North Yorkshire.

THERE seems to be fury at everything Israel does.

Is there fury at Israel’s great contribution to the world in science, agriculture, medicine, computers and so on? I ask because I never hear them mentioned.