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'Fired for swipe at Essex English'

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: August 02, 2012

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A SCHOOL music teacher says she has been sacked because of the comments she made about the Essex accent in her Chronicle column.

Visiting specialist Ruth Travers, 51, claims she was summoned by head teacher Susannah Edom-Baker, of Newlands Spring Primary School, Chelmsford, and formally dismissed.

Mrs Travers, of Galleywood, says her Thought for the Week article, published on July 5, referred to the Government's concern over the lack of literacy across the co untry.

In it, she wrote: "When I moved to Essex six years ago the thing I missed most was well spoken English.

"I felt as if I had been transported to an alien planet where my ears were subjected to the distortion and abuse of English grammar and pronunciation constantly."

Mrs Travers, who is employed by Essex Music Services and teaches at several local schools, claims Mrs Edom-Baker took exception to a sentence in the column that read: ". . . my experience is that even teachers and learning assistants have very poor diction and vowel pronunciation."

Mrs Travers says she was accused of being disloyal to the school and that the comments in the article reflected upon herself and her staff.

Mrs Edom-Baker denies that she ever dismissed Mrs Travers.

She said: "Our school has converted to Academy status, so we are making changes to our arrangements. I wished to speak to Ruth in person regarding this and I did express my regret that the article appeared to be criticising the staff at the school, but this was not the reason for us reviewing our arrangements with Essex Music Services."

But Mrs Travers claims she was only ever criticised for the article, adding: "My column was not aimed at any particular school, but what is at stake here is freedom of speech."

Mrs Travers' teaching method was featured by the Chronicle last year, when 88 children at Newlands Spring and Bishops primary schools passed the London College of Music early learning test with flying colours, as part of a county programme to let every child in Essex learn an instrument for free.

Mrs Edom-Baker said at the time: "When we were looking to initiate the innovative step of teaching violin to Foundation Stage pupils... fortunately, Essex Music Services introduced us to Ruth Travers who began teaching both classes two years ago.

"This was so successful that we are now continuing this tuition in Years 1 and further into Year 2."

Chairman of governors at Newlands Spring primary school, Graeme Atkinson said: "Mrs Travers is not employed by the school, she is employed by Essex County Council as part of Essex Music Services.

"Newlands Spring becomes an Academy on August 1 and, as part of that process, we are reviewing all our external contracts, one of which is with Essex Music Services.

"We have decided not to renew that contract in September. Mrs Travers has not been dismissed by the school and no doubt she will continue to work for ECC at other schools."

He added: "Ruth Travers' Thought for the Week is clearly not a slur on Newlands Spring primary school, more a slur on my dearly adopted county of Essex."

But an Essex County Council spokesman, which runs Essex Music Service, said a new contract had been agreed.

He added: "The recent contract between us and the school expired at the end of summer term. A new contract has been agreed and we will be providing the most suitable person to meet their requirements.

"Ms Travers is still an employee of Essex Music Service."

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  • stevetheboy  |  August 06 2012, 4:10PM

    Nanniki, How is it that the school allowed you to sit in on lessons so that you could form an opinion? Or could it be that you're just making it up and have no more knowlege of the subject than the afore mentioned PakefieldPonc?

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  • Nanniki  |  August 06 2012, 12:36PM

    The truth hurts doesn't it, piemansmyth. I took my child out of a state comp in Chelmsford because he wasn't be taught as the teachers failed to prevent most of the pupils disrupting. On the rare occasion they did teach, it was very low calibre, being delivered mostly by young teachers who looked and spoke like TOWIE louts. You also have to take into account that my son was in the top sets. I have now sent him to a private school, where he received excellent, first class teaching. I would advise any parent, who, understandably, has grave concerns about dismal state schools, if possible, send your child to a fee paying school. It's the only way to ensure they receive a decent education. The state system is failing children and parents miserably.

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  • piemansmyth  |  August 06 2012, 10:53AM

    PakefieldPonc You're foaming at the mouth. Try to express yourself like a normal, balanced member of society.

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  • PakefieldPonc  |  August 05 2012, 4:53PM

    Essex's state schools are, in a word, trash. Children's minds are polluted with left wing, PC garbage. State schools campaign what is corrosive and harmful to young people, and denounce that which is moral, and beneficial to society. Teaching is non-existent in Essex state schools. Leftist, impotent heads and teachers allow children to run amok. Most state school teachers in Essex are poorly educated, ignorant, badly spoken fools. The only hope in the county are grammar schools and private schools. As for the comps, academies etc they are the absolute educational pits. What a pity commie heads like this one can't be purged in one foul swoop, being replaced with normal-minded people, with a sense of morality, discipline and order. The current Essex batch of heads are a rabble of marxist misfits.

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  • PakefieldPonc  |  August 04 2012, 6:14PM

    I've noticed how 'pleasant and peaceful' the East End is on the London news programmes, which report continual muggings, murders, rapes, stabbings and shootings. Last year's disgraceful riots ring any bells? As for the Olympics, these are are a giant ego trip for the likes of Johnson and Cameron (and Blair). They will not benefir the average east Londoner at all. Starfall, it's unclear whether you're a pupil or a teacher pretending to be one? In any event, I know lots of teachers in Essex (as well as Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge). They all tell me that the state schools they work in, primaries and comps, are a living nightmare, with children running amok, fighting, trashing classrooms, using and selling drugs, smoking, taking in knives, accessing porn and violent websites on school computers, and verbally abusing teachers, physically attacking teachers and vandalising teachers' cars. They also tell me that their headteachers are like wet dishcloths, refusing to help their teachers, in fact blaming the teachers and exonerating the pupils who abuse them. One middle aged female teacher friend of mine suffered a male pupil exposing himself and performing an indecent act. When she reported this, a deputy head, incredulously, asked her, "what did you do to provoke this?" As for all these crass allegations of racism in some postings, let me tell you this. If you want to experience and suffer real racism, spend a day in any Essex or East End comp, and you'll hear pupils from a multitide of ethnic backgrounds using all manner of racist (and sexist) language against each other. Don''t believe me, then speak to the teachers at the chalkface with the balls (which most haven't got) to speak the truth.

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  • Starfall  |  August 04 2012, 1:07AM

    I must say I am with Cockney on this one. Currently at a state secondary school in essex myself I can say there is a grand total of three people that come to mind in my school that use the TOWIE stereotype. True, our English grammar isn't always great, but that's when we do not bother. I know someone who speaks using the most appauling english normally, but come english lessons she is on form, and she knows how to speak properly too. Speak for yourself, but I know at least one state school that is NOT rotten.

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  • proudcockney  |  August 03 2012, 6:00PM

    Squalid ?! You are a narrow minded person clearly I've touched a nerve with you. however I have better things to do with my time than debate real people with you. Ofsted is not rubbish or mindless and I really don't think you are in any position. To. Call me gullible , when you have been so clearly led to believe the east end is squalid London 2012 regeneration ring any bells?! perhaps you should spend some time at Newland spring yourself and see what goes on I'm sure you'd change your opinion. so please take your racist ,small minded ,derogatory comments and talk to some one who cares Kind regards

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  • Nanniki  |  August 03 2012, 5:36PM

    proudcockney, how naive and gullible you are. OFSTED reports are meaningless. Look, if they truthfully and honestly assessed state schools, they'd be forced to shut the overwhelming majority! Essex's state schools have never been so rotten. There's no such thing as the Cockney race. Your comment belies hysterical, loony left ranting. Even if there were, the fact is that the East London (sub)culture and accent has deluged and ruined Essex, which, historically, was a rural county like Suffolk. Essex, sadly, to its gross detriment, has become little more than an extension of the squalid East End.

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  • Nanniki  |  August 03 2012, 5:31PM

    I didn't remove my posting, it was scrubbed by the usual left-wing PC media. Evidence again of the anti-democratic society this now is, with a curb on traditional freedom of speech. I stand by all of my previous comments. Essex state schools have hit an all time low. The vast majority of state school teachers in Essex state schools are sub-standard. Most Essex state school heads are third rate, many resembling second hand car salesmen (and women). The Cockney has a lot to answer for, with the demise of Essex. Take a case in point, Brentwood, this once middle class town has been swamped with TOWIE-like chavs. As a result, the borough resembles the bad old East End. Any self-respecting parent, who can afford to do so, will find the means to send their child to a private school. In sending your son or daughter to an Essex state school, parents run the frightening risk of them descending into a thug or tart, respectively. Instead of censoring the truth about how rotten Essex's state schools are, the media should investigate and uncover the truth, which is all too conveniently hidden by bullying communist heads, soviet-style LEAs and the government. Incidentally, had the lady concerned criticised posh accents, this leftist head would have sung her praises. State heads like this are hypocrites and a plague to society.

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  • proudcockney  |  August 03 2012, 11:23AM

    very pleased Nannki has removed her post I stand by what I said fully that she could have been considered a racist, I was merely responding to her critisim of a good school with fantastic teachers and lsas. I for one would be speaking for many others over her claims the cockney has swamped Essex with illiterate children absolute cods wallop!!!!!! The other response is somewhat founded as yes there are many people who don't speak according however what people choose to do outside of Thier workplace shouldn't be a focal point for the way they teach .

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