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Picking up the Plowden baton

BEFORE writing impassioned diatribes, your correspondent Alan Kerr would do well to read what he is criticising. There was no "Plowden ideology" (TES, October 27).

The Plowden Council said: "We recommend a combination of individual, group and class work." About reading, they said: "Children are helped to read by memorising the look of words and phrases, often with the help of pictures, by guessing from a context which is likely to bring them success, and by phonics, beginning with initial sounds."

And about poetry: "Children may lose much when they are not set an example of getting poetry by heart."

Plowden was much more about the organisation of primary education thn about its content. Many of the recommendations, such as that parents should be represented on governing bodies, that parents should be provided with written reports once a year, that parents should be allowed to choose the children's school or that authorities should take steps to improve unpopular schools are now so unexceptionable that readers today will find it extraordinary that they should have been needed.

In its time the Plowden Report was seminal. To traduce it by ignorantly ascribing to it views and attitudes which are directly contrary to those it actually contains is wholly unfair.

Michael Sterne

67 Netheravon Road

Chiswick

London W4

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