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Stronger voice

Your editorial (TES, October 31) hit exactly the right target in concluding its review of the first six months of Government policy by indicating that the next step "must be a credible strategy for getting the teachers on board". Let us hope this message is heeded. It is already six months overdue. The psychological and social importance of long-term strategies to restore the professional identity and status of teachers cannot be overestimated and was clearly a priority on May 1.

Several of the policies the Government has introduced in its first six months of office - focused on failing schools and "incompetent" teachers - have maintained a deficit view of the profession and done little to answer the fundamental issue so well expressed by Peter Smith - "How to produce a highly motivated, self-challenging teacher workforce with the energy, drive and commitment to create a world-class education service" (TES, October 31). No amount of target setting by others or short-term policies focused on the few will produce this end. What is needed is a strategy that gives teachers a stronger voice.

HELEN SIMONS

Professor of education

University of Southampton

Southampton

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