LETTER: Pupil happiness should play important role in ‘education’

It was with some sadness I read your recent front-page headline and article regarding the “damning” Ofsted report for Lowerhouse Junior School.

I was disillusioned particularly by the strong intonations evident in the reporter’s script, which I felt epitomised current trends for further knocking people or institutions when they are down.

After a 30-year career teaching in a large junior school of often more than 400 pupils near Liverpool, I can understand readily the frustration and disappointment the head-teacher and staff must be feeling about this report.

My wife and I are grand-parents to a young pupil at this school who loves many things about it: her teacher, her after-school clubs and the overall friendliness of the whole staff and the atmosphere they generate among their pupils of politeness and discipline. We can vouch for these attitudes as we take her to school most mornings and attend assembly most Fridays. The latter are most enlightening and rewarding. When numerous pupils are rewarded weekly for their efforts both as individuals or members of their class or houses, then their pride is always evident, as is the bonhomie among the staff.

Your report, quite rightly, did mention the support of parents for the school and the chair of governors correctly pointed out KS2 results overall were good. During my career in education, I was fortunate to visit many primary schools of which very few had an encouraging, happy atmosphere to match that which I have found on visiting Lowerhouse Junior.

While “education” is very much about pupils’ progress, it also about pupil happiness and enjoyment of a school and what it provides, whether in lessons, clubs or overall ambience. This school provides many good things and I feel sorry the headteacher will retire on a low when he has worked so hard for the children of this area for many years. The staff seem a happy one and hopefully this report will not discourage them too much for the future. They have much parental support.

David Etherington

The report that appeared on the front page of the Burnley Express was based solely on the official Ofsted findings following its inspection of Lowerhouse Junior School. The Express did not fabricate or embelish the story with any false or inaccurate claims or observations.

Editor