Lyden leaves legacy of learning

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 December, 2002, 12:00am

I was shocked to hear that Robert Lyden, long time principal of Beacon Hill School, had resigned. Yet I was not surprised to hear that his resignation came after an English Schools Foundation (ESF) commissioned inspection.

This news was a deja-vu take on the resignation of Michael Behennah in February 1999, also following such an inspection. Both reports stated that the leadership had failed the 'test' miserably. I don't believe it.

According to the article '250 Beacon Hill parents back principal' (Education Post , November 23), the inspection detailed several things based on 'five days in the school, observing 57 lessons and conducting 19 discussions with staff'. This means that only three lessons per class - there are 18 classes - were observed. How, on this basis, could they cast judgement? How were these inspectors from the UK supposed to understand Beacon Hill, which I attended from 1988-1994 when I was enriched in every way possible. Learning was fun. Our reading groups encouraged me to become an avid reader. We conducted real experiments to understand scientific principles. Mr Lyden really led the school to exemplify what a good education should be, that is to be adventurous, innovative but most importantly to foster a love for learning.

Mr Lyden has worked at Beacon Hill for the past 22 years. Why is it only now that an inspection report has come back with unsatisfactory results? Is there something going on behind the scenes between ESF and Beacon Hill?

Eight years after Beacon Hill, I am studying on a full merit-based scholarship at a private US university, ranked number four in the nation. If Beacon Hill's leadership is so atrocious how come I made it? I call for all Beacon Hill parents and former parents, former pupils, teachers and even students to write to ESF chief executive Jennifer Wisker firmly expressing their support for Mr Lyden.


Durham, North Carolina, USA.