Frontline experience is not the same as expertise

8th January 2010 at 00:00

The debate about "frontline teachers" versus the "experts" is in danger of becoming farcical. I having nothing but the highest regard for the vast majority of teaching staff. I hold Brian Boyd and Raymond Soltysek (both of whom I know personally) in equally high regard.

What concerns me is the idea that because you have 25 years' "frontline" experience, this automatically makes you an "expert". I have occasionally had the misfortune to encounter teachers who have had one year's experience 25 times. This does not make them experts.

Yes, there are some academics who may not deserve the designation of "expert", let alone "academic", but I find it offensive to suggest that Messrs Boyd and Sotysek come anywhere near that category. They have both contributed vastly to the development of young (and not so young) staff over many years, as well as contributing ideas. Something that some of your correspondents seem sadly to lack.

Stirling Mackie, headteacher, Irvine Royal Academy.

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