Letters extra: Comprehensives and professionalism

27th April 2001 at 01:00

Will Hutton is usually right. Today he is totally wrong. First comprehensives. The battle is not over. Where they have worked nobody considers them as such. Windsor and Maidenhead has no selection, yet most people think the secondary and upper schools are grammars they are so good.

Slough has selection. Ambitious parents whose children fail the 11 plus try to get them into Windsor and Maidenhead schools. After this double creaming, Slough secondaries have real problems.

Second professionalism. Teachers are not the peers of accountants, doctors or lawyers. These professions are usually partnerships where each partner has a degree of control over their work.

Teachers in the state sector a little or no control. They are told exactly what to teach and how. They are given as little autonomy as a machine minder in a factory.

The idea of forming partnerships as GPs do and selling services to the state sector would not be accepted by the government for a moment, though it might be of attraction to teachers.

Dave Nicholson
Windsor, Berkshire

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