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Tes Editorial

Well, what a marvellous week for everybody working in education. Didn't the headlines in least week's TES just fill one with deep joy and wonderment?

Successful schools can now open as post offices - what better way of improving standards? Why hadn't anybody thought of it before? Maybe, schools could also open up as private hospitals and help to reduce hospital waiting lists.

Any failing hospitals could open up as schools and replace failing schools. What better way to focus on improving a school's league table position than opening up as a post office?

And talking of league table positions, how refreshing to see that children - slip of the tongue, sorry Ofsted - clients, were interviewing for a new teacher and asking questions such as how the teacher might improve the school's league table position.

The answer of course is, "Well, get rid of you lot for a start and get in some better children, sorry, clients."

In the words of a football manager with rather striking permed hair, "How can I get Premiership results with Vauxhall Conference League players?"

If only those poor pupils knew the difference between maximising a child's potential in examinations and improving the examination results of a whole school, they might then ask a more sensible question. If only our Government knew the difference, they might then abolish league tables. Then we would all be over the moon, Jim.

`Back to the Floor' is a current television documentary about top level managers going back to the shop floor. The successful managers are always those who are willing to listen to their employees.

Listening to employees? Not, for Ms Morris. She would rather listen to the views of a bunch of accountants, oh, and pay them millions of pounds into the bargain. Maybe if our Ms Morris is expecting our schools to be run as businesses, she might adopt this particular business practice herself.

But how cynical of me. This Government has given teachers a voice, the GTC, a body of individuals representing teachers. The fact that a large number of them were put in place by the Government shouldn't colour their judgement, no.

How do I know this? Because the Government will ensure that the GTC represents the views of teachers not by making the council a democratic body, but by making teachers pay for it. A master stroke.

What a mess we are in. I think it is about time that the Government set some meaningful targets, teacher retention for a start (recruitment figures are a smokescreen and mean nothing). Or maybe it is about time we simply all give up and leave the profession - to sell hamburgers. At least then, we might be listened to.

Antony Quinlan
Primary teacher

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Tes Editorial

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