Editor's letter

26th May 2000 at 01:00
Government policies over the years have assumed that all schools are secondaries. The national curriculum used a subject model. Ofsted inspection was also based on big schools and had later to be modified for primaries. But not enough, it seems.

It is no coincidence, as Gerald Haigh points out (page 6), that all four teachers whose deaths have been linked to Ofsted inspection were from primary schools. For primary teachers, the way they teach is intrinsic to who they are.

Maybe it is time to accept that primary teachers are different from secondary teachers. They are more isolated and less Bolshie. f Ofsted says Year 3 is badly taught, the finger points to a person, not a big department. If nowadays they teach children and subjects, it's the children who still come first. It is tempting simply to tell primary teachers not to get so wound up about inspection, but let's look at it another way: their exceptional dedication should be seen as an asset, and not as a problem. Maybe it's the system that needs to change. Of course teachers should be accountable, but they should also be trusted. The lack of trust has led to a system that feels so threatening.

Diane Hofkins

Editor TES Primary

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