A job for Mr Justice Collins;Letter

11th June 1999 at 01:00
I SHOULD have trained to be a doctor, then I could have been a grown-up.

After attending the three-day "totalitarian" numeracy strategy training, I came home and read that Mr Justice Collins has declared the Government's attempt to dictate on the supply of Viagra to be unlawful, as it "interfered with a GP's duty to exercise professional judgment".

I am passionately interested in maths and I love teaching the subject. We believe we have high standards in our school. We also want to exercise our professional judgment on initiatives but, to do this, we need background information and reasoned argument. We do not like being told by implication, "Do this and do it this way because your standards are not high enough and we cannot be bothered to discuss this further with you".

Neither do I like being expected to conduct inservice training in my school in this manner. We are blatantly advised not to allow any argumentdiscussion to develop which is not to do with the detail of the strategy, but to let that take place at other times "in the staffroom" - as mutterings not to be given formal consideration. Philosophy and professionalism are considered truly dead!

I am sorry, but we do not work like that. Does anyone also feel that we need, as teachers, to discuss and argue over such important issues as those being presented to us? We need to be convinced. Does anyone else feel grossly patronised?

Would Mr Justice Collins take my case to the High Court so I can hear him say that David Blunkett et al are "unlawfully interfering with a teacher's professional judgment"?

Then I could be a grown-up.

Jenny Smith, Headteacher, Elvington CE primary school, Dauby Lane, Elvington, York

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