IN 1973 I became the first head teacher of Great Cornard Upper School.
In this time I have seen the erosion of the National Curriculum, the demise and re birth of O-levels, the rise and fall of GCSEs. In addition the development of ‘soft ‘examination subjects manipulated to dress up examination results.
Schools have become colleges and/or academies, a rose by any other name, springs to mind. Great Cornard renamed after Gainsborough, rather odd for such a technology college! We also have free schools on the horizon with their consequences for educational provision and the teaching profession.
Irrespective of all these aspects the vital factor is the quality of the teacher in the classroom, the degree of positive support he/she receives from school management and parents. Teachers who can inspire and motivate pupils receiving specific and general community support are essential.
In the 39 years since reorganisation was introduced we are seeing the decline in Sixth Form numbers in our schools and the demise of the middle school system.
The area now would be better served by a tertiary college where all post-16 education and training is centralised. The development of positive and rigorous vocational courses working, in conjunction with business and industry, should be of paramount importance to complement A-levels.
Sudbury has ‘footfall’ problems in the town, a tertiary college, taking advantage of freed space in town centre would add life and vitality to the town, but it requires creative and positive thinking from our community leaders!
DOUGLAS PICKFORD OBE BSc