Currying favour;Diary

25th June 1999 at 01:00
UNTIL we read the Daily Mail, that is, which last week ran a full page rant by Edward Heathcoat Amory on school governors' miserable lot as "the poor relations of the education system, at best despised ... by the teaching profession and treated with contempt by LEA officials".

Edward, whose career has taken him through Tory Central Office, the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies and the Spectator, has just quit after six years as a governor and then chair of governors of a north London school, apparently because no one would let him sack his headteacher. He called for power to go with governors' responsibilities.

His frustrations seem to have struck a chord - governors' sites on the Internet have been buzzing with talk of little else.

Edward seemed particularly aggrieved that everyone else in the system gets paid while he didn't.

In his closing comments he swiped at "the teaching profession's obstinate commitment to outdated and discredited 'progressive' education methods" before saying: "LEAs retain far too much power and wield it in defence of the status quo, preserving the right of experts to dictate to parents how their children should be educated."

So many familiar targets (trendy teachers, powerful councils, so-called experts) in just one paragraph. And targets which are more usually in the sights of the chief inspector of schools.

One can only imagine what the burning topic of conversation must have been in that west London Indian restaurant. Edward Heathcoat Amory is, of course, Mr Alice Thomson.

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