A brighter future

13th May 2005 at 01:00
Machiavelli would be proud of Mike Russell's latest assertions in his TES Scotland column last week. The substance behind those assertions however would have left him scrabbling around in the dark to find any facts to justify them.

This is Mr Russell's educational equivalent of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction - his points simply are not true. The Hunter Foundation is not determining educational policy; educationalists are.

The Hunter Foundation is committed to working in partnership to effect educational change for the common good, engaging to ensure opportunity exists for all. We will not stand idly by as he pontificates from his pedestal and watch thousands of children be confined to a future that has no job, year on year.

Nor, contrary to his view, will we sit in a darkened room, with the Scottish Executive hatching educational policy. No, Mr Russell. We have been, and continue to be, actively consulting with, for example, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, individual local authorities, teacher education institutions, universities, charities, the General Teaching Council. I could go on but perhaps he gets the point.

Moreover, we fund national pilot programmes that, if proven to have marked positive impact after being independently evaluated, will then be adopted by Government and our funds will be withdrawn. In other words, we will never, be a substitute for the taxpayer. All of those programmes are defined and determined in consultation with the educational sector.

One example is the Schools Enterprise Programme, which is now adopted as policy and embedded within Determined to Succeed after an awful lot of hard work from teachers, local authorities and with support from the private sector.

Perhaps Mr Russell will now understand why we believe that underpinning any educational reform must be the absolute that every child has the opportunity to shine in whatever way they can. If that is wrong, we in the Hunter Foundation are listening.

Ewan Hunter Chief executive The Hunter Foundation

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