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Editor's Letter

"That's in every contract," says Groucho Marx in ANight at the Opera. "That's what they call a sanity clause." "You can't-a fool me," laughs Chico. "There ain't no Sanity Claus."

That's my nod to Christmas - although this issue of TES Primary is full of festive season ideas.

Instead, I want to talk about sanity clauses. They should be inserted into every Government document sent to primary schools. "If these demands are driving you crazy, please modify them to suit your own style and the needs of your pupils."

First with the national curriculum in 1989, and now with the National Literacy Strategy, the Government has expected schools to implement huge changes fast, often with minimal training. And teachers have done it.

Many heads and authorities have been demanding that the literacy hour be delivered by the book, fearful of retribution if they fail to meet their targets.

But at a TES literacy conference this month, Government standards supremo Michael Barber confirmed that the strategy could be used flexibly and assured schools the literacy targets are just that - targets to aim for. They will not be pilloried for failing to meet them.

So perhaps there is a sanity clause after all.

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