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Deptford headteacher deserves praise not outrage

Photograph: Jeff Moore

Mark Elms - well paid, well deserved

National outrage has been provoked about the pay packet of a Primary school head teacher, Mark Elms from Deptford, South London.

Surprisingly the biggest cry of disdain has been from a union, whose role is to protect its member’s wages and improve their working lives.

There’s a great scene in the US political drama The West Wing in which a lead character Sam Seaborne makes his argument about how the education system should be funded:

“Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes; we need gigantic, monumental changes. Schools should be palaces.

The competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be making six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens, just like national defense. That’s my position. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.”

Imagine our country had that kind of attitude toward educating our young? Almost every problem a person faces in life can be defined by how well educated they are, and how they experienced the education system. What becomes of young people that drop out of school should by now be obvious and beyond the need for description. Education matters.

Education should be on par with national defense, because essentially it is a defense of the future of this country, and against falling behind in a competitive globalised economy.

To read about the outcry about Mr Elms over his pay packet is disheartening. The teacher deserves praise for the remarkable job he has done in one of the poorest parts of London.

He deserves praise for attempting to live the ideal described above, an ideal that education should be central to our society; we should value it the way we value our young, and value the future of our country.

By Leon Green

3 Responses

  1. I’m with Leon on this one. No brainer. For a headmaster to get great results from one of the poorest boroughs in Britain deserves a King’s ransom.
    It’s funny, I did read one outraged newspaper lamenting that Mr Elms was paid more that the head of Eton. I should jolly well hope so. Getting the best from some of the worlds most privileged children with resources that most pupils could only dream about has got to be easier than the challenge Elms faces.

    Great piece Leon

  2. I stopped and considered this for a while and watched the news and the different views and listened to the support by the parents of the children and will have to draw the conclusion that if this was in another neighbourhood or community of a different flavour you would not hear anything. What we have here is substantial improvement that money can’t buy.

    Also why are we using the Prime Minister’s salary as a measuring stick what is the basis or rationale?

  3. Dear Susiefree

    Unfortunately, we are unable to put your comment up as we would be in breach of libel and have no way of verifying your claims. Sorry about that.


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