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Professional status in need of an upgrade

The points made by Kerra Maddern are important, but something more deep-seated perpetuates this position. Teachers are receptacles for projections and identifications from pupils, parents and the public. These can take the form of blame for educational failure, standards of discipline, even the cohesiveness of society.

As children, we fear and idealise teachers. However skilled and caring, they let us down sometimes, like our parents do. As we move into adulthood, we retain feelings of disappointment.

There is an intolerant streak in British culture that cannot bear failure - failure fed by confused feelings about teachers. Ofsted embodies this intolerance and becomes the vehicle for our need to "punish teacher", because to admit that educational achievement and the struggles schools have to bring it about is truly a complex process does not fit with this collective attitude.

Until we make this attitude conscious, we will not be able to develop a healthy and balanced respect for teachers.

Phil Goss, Senior lecturer, University of Central Lancashire.

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