Restore the links that encouraged schools to work together

From: JW Slack, Swinton Hill Road, Dinnington, Sheffield.

I APPLAUD Tom Richmond’s suggestion that Michael Gove should “re-establish” the link between secondary schools and feeder primaries (Yorkshire Post, June 21).

It is not entirely dead but “freedom of choice” has created difficulties further complicated by the constant re-branding of schools and constant initiatives and changes to the examination systems.

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During the halcyon days of the West Riding County Council under the leadership of Sir Alec Clegg, I was fortunate enough to be invited by the head of the local comprehensive school, along with all other feeder schools to form a group to meet half-termly to discuss issues of mutual concern with a view to tackling local problems in the community and sharing professional experience and expertise.

This included visiting each other’s schools and sharing ideas.

Additionally, mainly through the school nurse, we could gain easy access to, and ask for advice on, child medical issues (those children with learning problems, disadvantaged or difficult home circumstances), and the school psychological service was available for further consultation.

Much was achieved in a quiet, non-confrontational way by personal contacts which did not threaten private confidentiality. All this when class sizes were far in excess of 30 -–more like 40.

This was gradually destroyed by local government re-organisation when political interference made such consultation more difficult and a golden opportunity to address many issues in school was lost.

As your recent Editorial (Yorkshire Post, June 23) states, class sizes are increasing but Mr Gove needs to realise that sympathetic, qualified staff are needed to address the needs of all the children in the school, some with behavioural and learning issues.

Perhaps the school curriculum needs to include lessons in “common sense” for politicians.

From: Michael Meadowcroft, Waterloo Lane, Leeds.

THE Gove “gimmicks” are very damaging to efforts to develop an integrated education service for all children, particularly in large and diverse cities.

I particularly applaud Tom Richmond’s comments on supporting LEAs in linking secondary schools and their feeder primaries.

From: Stan Robinson, Roman Avenue, Leeds.

Things were much better years ago in the education system. Schools were much smaller, with infants, juniors and seniors on the same site.

It was three-tier education – secondary modern, secondary grammar and secondary technical.

The 1944 Education Act spoke of education according to age, ability and aptitude. The 11-plus was the decider.

Allocation was 90 per cent accurate with children able to transfer.

His Majesty’s inspectors kept a watchful eye. There was no national curriculum and no league tables!

The system worked well and was the envy of Europe.