To compete we need to be able to compare like with like

26th April 1996 at 01:00
Alan Smithers, (Opinion, TES, April 5), is right to extend the debate on teaching methods. What he misses in his analysis of the origins of individualised work is the influence of the Plowden Report, published in 1966. This influenced a generation of teachers towards a child-centred approach and those of us who had survived the mind numbing tedium of 11-plus grooming in our own primary school days embraced it with enthusiasm. However, the approaches it espoused made such severe intellectual and physical demands on teachers that rigour was lost along the way.

What primary teachers need now is not more mud slung from whatever source but a clear view of what methods are most effective in what contexts. If we are to look across the Channel and to the Far East for (apparently) more effective teaching we need to know whether, for example, those teachers have the same pastoral responsibilities, are effective with mixed-age classes, have a very broad curriculum to teach, work longer hours with bigger classes or have the same obligations to report, record and consult as in this country.

In the same issue you request ideas for the new Primary Pre School pages of your paper. Why not include regular international contributions which will help us to evaluate and compare?



Christ Church primary school

Royal Park



Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today