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Masters for everyone?

Teachers should do five years' training up to masters-degree level, according to Professor Peter Mortimore, former director of education at London university's institute of education, in an evaluation of the English system commissioned by the National Union of Teachers.

Finland, which is rated the world's most successful education system, trains teachers to this level and they are trusted with the curriculum, teaching methods and assessment, he said.

The national curriculum should be cut by half and a politically independent "standing body" should keep education under constant review and recommend changes to ministers. Professor Mortimore wants every education authority to set up an experimental school in which new pedagogies can be tested before any national change.

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