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Stan DUPP

Dear Lord Adonis,

Thank you for alerting those that can do something about the inequality facing families up and down our country due to ‘many’ schools just not pulling their finger out at a time of national crisis. It is vital that those who can make a difference to our public services (the politicians who have so diligently safeguarded them for so long) become aware there are families out there right now suffering due to inaction. I mean the thought of all those school leaders with their feet up just not caring makes my blood boil… Schools need a damn good caning…

yours sincerely M. Wilshaw

Dear Andrew,

Mate! Can we talk? 

Yeah, I’m with you in shining the spotlight on ALL those schools who have completely shut out their most vulnerable children. Let’s gather a mob and hound them out of town. I reckon I can get a crew from the old Fleet Street Gang together and we can gather a few hacks with time on their hand, now they can’t lambast the NHS (God bless them). Schools are the new enemy – fact-  we must seize the day! Can’t have Joe Public not having a scapegoat for too long or they may start asking questions about what it is we actually do that makes a difference to real peoples lives!?! God forbid!

I have some great headlines on the back of your ever so productive attack on teachers…

Have you seen how much tax payers spend on these charlatans? 

Teacher Ate my Hamster!

Deputy Head Seen in Waitrose at 10:30 on a Tuesday

Headteacher Steals Baby Bel From Packed Lunch

I’m with you Pal… let’s make as sweeping a statement about schools without first having the facts and then we can thrash the moral core from their bones.

Yours T Graph

Dear Lord Baron Andy,

Just want to add to your attack on those lazy good for nothing teachers. Not satisfied with their 40 weeks a year holiday and 5 hour days they have done nothing to open their schools. HOW DARE THEY JUST CLOSE! I want to know on what authority this decision was made and will not rest until we get to the bottom of this. Did they not think that families would suffer?

Whereas, The NHS has been a bloody marvel and they fully deserve their weekly clap and badge! I’d also like to give a shout out to those DisneyPlus guys – Marvellous work!

J. Public

Dear Sir,

I can’t say what my teachers and school staff are doing because that would be unprofessional but ALL have gone above and beyond and I am in awe of them. There may be some schools out there that you know are not supporting their families and shame on them. But, your showboating approach to dealing with this just highlights an uncharacteristic lack of the class that I have always felt you had as a politician. I met you early in my headship career and was impressed, not only by your knowledge and understanding of what was happening in education nationally but also locally (Bristol).

Time moves on and so does the complexities of leading a school. Just because we have a title or the cloak of experience this does not mean we are untouchable or make mistakes in our delivery. You can keep arguing that you did the right thing. And I agree, like our public figures, there will be a time to look at what actions were taken and how useful our processes were at dealing with and meeting this current need, Right now I don’t know a local authority or school leader who is not focused on or worried about their families. I always thought it was the job of politicians and people in positions of power to raise issues and I felt the questions you originally raised were valid questions… but then to turn this into a broad generalisation was classless and beneath someone of your experience. 

I know many school staff who have up skilled themselves at a remarkable pace to now meet the complex issues impacting their communities. As a head teacher here are some of the issues we are dealing with right now:

Plans for increasing our capacity despite many complex barriers around our staff health and well-being ,

Sensitively dealing with our communities MANY worries,

No real direction or clarity from our seniors (A good example is the blanket use of the word ‘Vulnerable’ which cause more confusion and uncertainty),

Creating, adapting and maintaining home learning platforms from scratch with hardly any build up time. My teachers telephone logs are huge and detailed- the number of issues they are multitasking on is immense,

Being a front line service without any PPE for weeks – conveniently ignoring the basic fact that children don’t know how to socially distance,

The complete collapse of testing systems and trying to ensure we do our children justice moving on,

For some of us the loss of our income streams (We were a feeder kitchen, a holiday provider and took 0-2 children daily and had an expanded Nursery provision – all gone overnight),

New challenges in the already challenging realm of recruitment and retention (I can see a glut of headteachers leaving and moral was already as low as I have ever known it – so thanks!),

Forward planning for NQTs and what happens next,

Thinking about induction arrangements before we have even thought about end of year arrangements, ,

EHCPs and transitions in a broken system,

Thinking about what the gap will be and how we can begin to play catch up,

Planning for what happens if there is a second wave.

I know that this list will make you respond – ‘Exactly my point!’. But, this list (With MUCH MORE on it) comes from my Local Authority meeting with heads this week. I know from speaking to heads up and down the country this joint conversation is advanced and facing up to the challenges. Therefore, your comments were ill-informed and could have been better directed rather than a good chance to get some limelight. I agree that accountability and questions MUST be asked. I do not agree with the way you have done it.

Listening to 20 views on something as complex as what is happening in schools right now is not enough. Anyone with a little experience of leading a school will tell you context is KEY.  What I have learnt from this is there needs to be a way to get the views of the profession in sufficient quantity so that people like you, Wilshaw and Greening in authoritative and influential positions are speaking with the facts rather than spouting damaging rhetoric like you have. Trust me when I say those parody letters above will be a reality on the back of what you have said. The damage you do to the profession will have a lasting impact. You have a responsibility and that should not be to make the entire education profession feel like everyone thinks they have failed. Knowing we have to fight against ill informed public figures and politicians is one of educations great frustrations. We need champions holding us to account not opportunists.

B Walton

Dear A,

Thank you for doing what no one else has managed in a decade… Galvanising the Edu-twitter community for a week.

T. Wit

Thanks for listening.