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Teachers get top marks on internet site

PUBLISHED: 16:23 16 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 October 2010

Teachers at a West Norfolk high school are getting high marks from pupils on a controversial international website.

The students at Hamond's High in Swaffham are streets ahead of others in the county in logging on to the site and have named 41 teachers on RateMyTeachers.

Teachers at a West Norfolk high school are getting high marks from pupils on a controversial international website.

The students at Hamond's High in Swaffham are streets ahead of others in the county in logging on to the site and have named 41 teachers on RateMyTeachers.co.uk.

Most other local schools list just one or two teachers, and the second most vocal in the area is Smithdon at Hunstanton, with only nine teachers mentioned.

The idea of the website – which originated in the USA and has been criticised by teachers and education officials since it arrived in the UK – has been welcomed by Hamond's head teacher, Yve Srodzinski.

She said that giving students the opportunity to express themselves on a website like this fitted in with the ethos of the Brandon Road school, which has just over 700 pupils aged between 12-18.

In the anonymous entries, teachers are marked out of five for their ability to maintain interest and control a class, for the clarity of their teaching and helpfulness towards pupils.

There is also a "cool" and "uncool" category, with staff who pass the test given a yellow smiling face and the coolest getting a pair of sunglasses.

Among Hamond's staff with the highest mark of five – and who is most definitely judged as cool – is biology teacher Alan Wright.

Website entries describe him as "Great bloke and top teacher", "Excellent, funny teacher, chatty and helpful bloke" and "Best teacher ever".

Other high scorers are language teacher Glennys Chaplin, with a 4.8 rating – "The greatest, she treats you respectfully and is so funny" – and maths teacher Geoff Hinchcliffe (4.5) – "Good teacher and a little old school but always willing to help."

Sixteen out of 41 teachers are rated with four or more points and the average score is 3.5.

One low-rating teacher (1.8) earns the comment: "Occasionally cheerful (five minutes on Friday)" and another (1.9) is said to be "Really hard on discipline and sarcastic".

Mrs Srodzinski said: "The way in which we like to work is that the personal relationships and values in the school, and the ethos, is as important as high achievement.

"My teachers often go an extra mile with personal commitment to students and because they are generally warm and friendly, I know that with an awful lot of students it positively helps their lives."

She added: "I'm delighted that we have teachers who are being appreciated in this way – and we want more of it because this holistic approach to education is what makes education memorable."

Mrs Srodzinski mentioned Hamond's school parliament, which has 60 children as members and pointed out: "The meet with me for a no-holds-barred discussion about the school and any child can raise anything.

"They did that during a recent Ofsted inspection and Ofsted were amazed. The student voice is coming through quite strongly. This website seems to fall within the ethos of the school."

Dan Pritchard, Norfolk County Council communications officer, said: "It's great that pupils are positive about their school and teachers, and it indicates the good relationship the school has with its pupils."

But he sounded a warning note: "There can be problems with some websites. There are strict filtering processes within schools and we work with them to block access to inappropriate sites.

"Schools are encouraged to work with parents, so the Internet can be used in positive ways to further their children's education and help them to be aware of the dangers and the need to follow Internet safety advice."


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