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Honours list is complete joke

Am I the only dispirited educationist facing another bleak year ahead? Am I alone in wondering why it is that we have now reached the education "Noddy-land" pinpointed by Melanie Phillips in her book All Must Have Prizes?

I am referring, of course, to the 2004 New Year education honours list (TES, January 2).

In all my years of teaching and researching I have never read such a monstrous and insulting classification of the so-called great and good of education-service personnel (mind you, the yearly fiasco of the national Teaching Awards runs a close second in the dire "let's give all-and-sundry some brownie-points" stakes).

In the list we find a plethora of school caretakers (now called "site managers" or the Americanised "school janitor"), classroom assistants, volunteer classroom assistants and school-crossing wardens ("lollipop ladies") - all worthy people of course, but getting MBEs?

Education researchers and policy-makers (barely half-a-dozen make an appearance in the list), school secretaries, heads' PAs and school finance managers all seemed to have been overlooked for their prizes. As have the 400,000-plus schoolteachers.

Just who is it who adjudicates these annual awards?

Dr Christopher Knight

90 Crescent Drive

Orpington, Kent

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