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Go easy on the pioneers

So ministers are "disappointed" that the zones have not proved to be "exciting experiments" in"bringing in innovative ideas" (TES, January 5).

My local zone recently held an in-service training day where several hundred teachers expressed a unanimous opinion that something is deeply wrong with our current educational system; that it is failing significantly large numbers of our children.

A number of workshops were held which addressed themes such as motivation, empowering students, accelerated learning and emotional literacy.

A small but growing number of schools are bravely pioneering approaches in these areas, but do we hear the Government's voice offering loud and unequivocal support? No, it's too busy trumpeting the latest "improved" national test scores and "increasing" tacher recruitment rates.

Those of us who work in the pioneering areas of accelerated learning and emotional intelligence know first hand that if the Government is serious about promoting innovative and exciting approaches to learning, then it has got a strange way of showing it. How can schools be expected to find time and resources to explore these options if the Government continues to insist on a diet of more and more of the same old stuff?

When the Office for Standards in Education inspectors are briefed to look for evidence of brain and style-based approaches to learning then I might begin to feel that ministers are genuininely interested in "innovative" approaches to learning. Until then it's a lonely old furrow to plough.

Mark Edwards 36 George Street Bedford

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