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.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today