Get to root of problem

THE replies to my letter were spirited ( Taken aback by head attack, November 15), but my question remains unanswered: What causes the truancy? Ofsted may applaud Ms Ford s soaring attendance figures following her Pavlovian adventure, but I am intereste

THE replies to my letter were spirited ("Taken aback by head attack," November 15), but my question remains unanswered: What causes the truancy?

Ofsted may applaud Ms Ford's soaring attendance figures following her Pavlovian adventure, but I am interested in holistic resolution of the truancy rather than merely addressing symptoms.

After all, truancy usually accompanies bullying or domestic problems. Are the truant's motives considered? Is comprehensive support offered to the truant child besides amusement parks? Ms Bitten does, after all, comment that the truant child enjoys the least of Ms Ford's focus.

The social question of what to do about people who can be motivated only by promises of external reward is an important one, intrinsically linked to moral development of the individual, particularly children. Therefore, ethics displayed by a figure in authority will impact on that child's moral development.

Ms Lines also favours the reward system, dismissing my comparison of children who are denied an education by poverty or slavery as irrelevant.

Sorry, but I must ask again: Why, in a world where some are excluded from the basic human right of education, do some choose not to enjoy this privilege? What inhibits a child's desire to take up their basic human right to education?

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I explained that for those without (125 million children globally whose right is violated every day) a free basic education would be reward enough, in itself.

Lastly, one of the writers felt it a "shame" about bad treatment to children in other countries and little to do with her. It's actually an appalling crime against humanity and it's global, including the UK.

VICKI EARTHROWL

William Drive

Eynesbury

# I HAVE taught at St Peter's School for nearly six years (Letters, November 15). Since Mrs Ford arrived here in September, there has been a buzz around our school such as I have never known before.

Over the past few years I have felt disheartened and wanted to leave to teach at another school. As this academic year has progressed, however, I have been amazed at how different the school has become.

The students are on the whole happier. They are keener to learn. They are wearing shoes, not trainers.

The uniform has never looked better. Having said that, there is excitement among the students that they will be getting a new uniform. I asked my Year 10 class whether they thought the school was better, and almost all said it was.

I have barely had to raise my voice to any class this year. In the past, I have had to wait a long time for students to stop talking and have had to shout to be heard at times.

As a school, we made a big push last term saying that punctuality matters. The students responded. Lessons are now able to start on time and the students are learning more, and I have no doubt that over the next few years we will see our students achieve better GCSE grades, etc.

In addition to that, St Peter's has never been cleaner. The main corridor positively gleams.

Two Year 10 students have volunteered to pick up litter at lunchtime. They have litter-pickers and put the rubbish into the bins around the site. Our students are taking an interest in their environment. Our site staff, who are amazing, have worked non-stop. The school is getting decorated and is looking great.

There has been a lot made of the trip to Alton Towers. Many other schools do similar things, but it is clear that our students have seen this as an incentive to go to school.

It is not a bribe. It is a reward to say at the end of the year, well done! Who does not like to be told that they have done a good job? I am in my early 30s and I still like to be told that I have done well.

I love working at St Peter's. The students are amazing. They are the salt of the earth and deserve better and, so far, Mrs Ford is encouraging all of us to give them better. I would say in all honesty that I have raised my game this year. I am more motivated and I want to see all of my students succeed more than ever. I hope to stay at St Peter's for a few more years now - it is a place on the up.

One last thought: All this has happened in just nine short weeks. Imagine how good things will be this time next year.

D WHITE

St Peter's School

Huntingdon

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