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The perils of ignoring teachers

Teachers are being ignored in the debate about the future of local education authorities, according to a pamphlet from Ten, an independent education policy and research organisation.

It warns chief education officers - today considering inspections and development plans at their conference in Warwick - to heed the needs of their largest group of employees.

Pamphlet author John Bangs, assistant secretary of the National Union of Teachers, says that local authorities' future survival depends on their relevance to the needs of classroom teachers, not just their success in meeting Government targets and working with school managers.

Mr Bangs writes: "The problem with both the code of practice (for local authority-school partnerships) and the education development plan guidance is that there are far too few references on how authorities may help individual teachers and far too many on how they can intervene in schools."

He says that teachers and their organisations should be involved in policy-making, as part of a genuine partnership with authorities.

Roy Jobson, outgoing chairman of the Association of Chief Education Officers, said he had some sympathy with the argument.

"Local authorities are beginning to think differently about their service planning and involvement of teachers, particularly because of things like target setting and delivery planning," he added.

Full conference report in The TES next week

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