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Let free thinkers train teachers

James Rodgers suggests that teachers should obtain their professional development from "higher-education-based teacher educators" ("Where to get the best training", TES, May 13).

He seems unaware of how those in teaching view the average academic who pretends to be in touch with the reality of the classroom (Ted Wragg excepted, of course!).

Mr Rodgers doesn't help his case by defining CPD as Career Professional Development when most people know it as Continuous Professional Development.

Mr Rodgers, and indeed Steve Sinnott of the National Union of Teachers, seem to have forgotten an important reason why heads should be able to make choices within a free and competitive market: if a school "buys in" a private trainer or consultant to support their staff, it is presumably because they feel that such a person can offer something that other "institutions" cannot.

Many of the best speakers and creative thinkers in education choose to work as independent operators. They value that independence and so do the schools that they work with. These individuals do not have to tow an official "party line" being promulgated by the Department for Education and Skills or National College for School Leadership in order to retain their licence or long-term contract.

Reports of the Government's desire to regulate all CPD in schools also needs to be thought through carefully. Many forms of regulation create large and expensive bureaucracies of administration, quality assurance and meaningless checklists.

I wonder if Plato, Rousseau, Froebel, Montessori and Dewey would have passed a quality assurance assessment giving them permission to set out their great education ideas?

Let's hear it for free thinkers and independent spirits!

James Laing

Ridgeway Associates

5a, Round House

Calne

Wiltshire

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