Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Teachers' Tears at Reward Claim

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Teachers' Tears at Reward Claim

Article excerpt

Byline: Hannah Graham Reporter

TEACHERS were left "in tears" after they made headlines on the world's biggest news website - for what they say was a visit intended to improve their school.

On Thursday, MailOnline reported that teachers at Byker Primary school, in Newcastle, had visited schools in Canada after receiving an "Outstanding" Ofsted report.

Teachers say they were baffled to find themselves at the centre of a media storm, in which an article on the website claimed parents viewed the visit as a "reward" for the result, or a "holiday" in term.

The article reported head teacher Linda Bradley as saying that the visit had nothing to do with the inspection, and was not a treat, but a fact-finding mission to learn from top Canadian schools.

Mrs Bradley said: "It's been absolutely awful. The four teachers who went on the trip are really quite distressed. I've had teachers in tears, it's been hard to sleep.

"It's as if we are being given the impression that we've done something wrong, which we haven't."

She said it wasn't unusual for schools to make such visits. Deputy head John Newton added: "I can't think of a successful school that doesn't make links like this."

Mrs Bradley has written to parents explaining the nature of the visit, and claims she's since had no complaints from parents. However, the school, one of few 'outstanding' schools in the city, has become the target of harsh criticism from people unconnected to the school who read the article - some of whom even rang teachers, demanding Mrs Bradley's resignation.

The head of 17 years insisted trips like the Canada visit, which the Mail claimed cost PS6,000, were "beneficial" to the whole school. She herself visited schools in Australia shortly after she joined the school, and initiatives from that visit, including having children lead their own assemblies to build confidence, are still used in the school today. …

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