Creative minds discouraged

19th March 2004 at 00:00
Some reflections on Education Secretary Charles Clarke's statement that the quality of teaching that pupils receive is "almost hit and miss" (TES, March 12).

Surely this judgment is based on a false premise, namely that the quality of Office for Standards in Education inspections is of a uniformly high standard? Need I say more?

Second, it neatly avoids confronting the true situation in many of the nation's schools, that is, the difficulty of recruiting and retaining qualified teachers, not only in the "shortage" subjects but also across the subject board in many urban areas.

Finally, it nimbly avoids confronting the negative effects of countless government initiatives which, presumably in an attempt to cover the cracks caused by the recruitment and retention crisis, try to reduce the noble art to a simple formula of "teaching by numbers".

The truly creative mind will either get out of teaching or avoid it like the plague. Everybody remembers a good teacher but how many of those memories are of teachers who "followed the book" of government orthodoxy?

Now who should shoulder the blame for all this, I wonder?

Robert Newton (retired head)

5 Netherdale Close

Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands

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