Barbarians at the school gate

17th February 2006 at 00:00
Ted Wragg's comment (quoted in the TES special tribute , February 3) that "without teachers society would slide back into primitive squalor" reminds me of an older, more telling quotation from George Tomlinson, minister of education in the Attlee government and a great admirer of teachers.

In 1947 he said: "At a pinch you could do without local education authorities. At a pinch you could do without the civil service. You could certainly do without the minister. But without teachers the country would degenerate into barbarism in the space of two generations." George, who had only a part-time elementary education, is famous for admitting that the "minister knows nowt about curriculum". Would that current ministers were so modest! But he certainly knew something about education.

Professor Colin Richards

1 Bobbin Mill Spark Bridge Cumbria

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