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Mr Gove's bright ideas fail to impress

Two recent announcements encapsulate the increasingly surreal world in which the education system now exists.

The first is new Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw's astonishing assertion that low staff morale means "you are doing something right" ("Satisfactory is out. Linking performance and pay is in", 2 December). Aside from the fact that if you look at virtually any Ofsted report on an outstanding school there will be a reference to high staff morale, such a remark lays down a marker for the chief inspector that is deeply worrying for the profession.

The second point is some of the content of the "new, improved" national curriculum that schools minister Nick Gibb is promising. We are in the middle of a recession, school funding is to be cut by 13 per cent over the next four years, there are ever more serious cracks in funding and provision for children with special educational needs, and serious work is needed to raise attainment in deprived areas. So the announcement that the learning of the quadratic equation will be brought forward by a year would delight Salvador Dali and other believers in the Absurd.

A "promise" was made by both the coalition and Michael Gove that they would "allow teachers more freedom" and would not "tinker" with the details of the curriculum. Political promises continue to be an oxymoron and the national curriculum has much in common with the life cycle of the mayfly - both are ephemeral.

Tony Roberts, Lancashire NAHT, Penwortham, Preston.

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