An accountable system that is accountable to no one

7th March 1997 at 00:00
Michael Stoten's comments (TES, February 21) on appraisal made a refreshing change to the usual bunkum bandied around by unions and senior management teams. At last someone is prepared to spill the beans. Appraisal is about "performance-related pay for all".

Despite Michael's candour, he still does not really tell it like it is.

The big myth about discussion of teachers' pay and conditions is best encapsulated by the idea of "accountability". We are told teachers cannot be accountable unless judged on their "performance against set targets". The idea is that they have been protected by fear of the unions from real accountability.

At the same time we are told that governing bodies are strapped for cash by their ties to LEA funding for pay and the national pay scales. So putting two and two together we end up with one less teacher.

Appraisal is not about making teachers accountable to some arbitrary performance targets. Instead, teachers are to become accountable to the financial constraints that government imposes (unaccountably), via governing bodies.

This loathsome dishonesty turns a political struggle to restructure the education system into an economic reality that governing bodies have to face as a pragmatic reality.

In this state of impasse it is the precarious duty of governors and their apologists to take on the role of the guardians of educational standards. Result, an educational system accountable to no one.

DAVID PERKS 35 Park Villa Court Leeds

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