Control myth comes to light

17th August 2012 at 01:00

John Guy's tribute to Peter Hastings (Obituary, 27 July) made the point that, as its headteacher between 1976 and 1989, he made Trinity Catholic School in Warwickshire a powerhouse of educational innovation and success. Key features of his philosophy included mixed-ability teaching, experiential learning and teachers being known by their first names. But how was it possible for him to do this? Wasn't this the time when schools were "controlled" by local education authorities (LEAs)? What Guy's obituary shows is that it's a populist myth that LEAs controlled what went on in their schools. The myth is still used, however, to justify the creation of academies and free schools. When we hear anyone criticise local authority control, we should challenge them to explain what they mean.

John Till, Professional officer (Wales), Voice education union.

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