Chance to reform should not be lost;Opinion;Letter

5th February 1999 at 00:00
THE LAST sentence of Martin Littlewood's letter (TES, January 22) nicely defines the present difficulty: "The three-term year is firmly rooted in our culture and should stay."

Because we have it, don't disturb it. If that nihilistic philosophy had been applied to much in the education service, I doubt if the 1944 Education Act, would have been passed, let alone the sea change of the past 10 years.

Will development now cease because the detail of the national curriculum, the Literacy Hour and the coming Numeracy Hour neatly matches three terms and any change would thus be "inconvenient"? We sometimes forget that schools exist only for the purposeful education of children, nothing else. Everything should be tailored to that end.

The present debate is not yet about the detail of possible change but a plea that within the context of Green Paper consultation on conditions of service, that debate should at least take place. A real opportunity for radical and meaningful reform will have been lost if the five-term option is not now considered within the Green Paper terms of reference.

Chris McDonnell Headteacher Fulfen primary school Rugeley Road Burntwood, Staffs

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