Market values spread dismay;Letter

24th September 1999 at 01:00
FOLLOWING the publication of my letter in The TES recently, I was saddened to receive a letter from a woman who has chosen to educate her children at home because of her disillusionment with our educational system.

Politicians have, in the past, said that there should be greater choice for parents in their choice of schools, but since they have imposed uniformity in education, real choice has become a myth.

The system of inspection has meant that alternative styles of education have been rooted out. Schools which did not conform to the "norm" have either had to change or close down.

The judgments made about schools have been reached by adhering to a strict set of predetermined criteria, based on a narrow, simplistic formula.

Academic achievement is everything...whether a child is a happy, well balanced, creative, free-thinking individual is of no significance, it's not on the "tick list". A child is now a mere cog in a vast economic machine.

Education should never have been placed in the market place. It was a grave mistake on the part of the previous administration.

This Government is compounding previous errors and adding to the misery of children. It is reminiscent of the land of the Tomtoddies from Charles Kingsley's Water Babies.

In my school (a first school) a special needs child burst into tears when he was seated in the hall, under exam conditions more appropriate for A-level students, and looked at his test paper. This market-driven education system is doomed to failure. It has a dehumanising effect on children and teachers.

As more children develop school phobia, and as more disillusioned teachers and parents abandon the professionschools, the eyes of the general public will be opened up to the damage being inflicted on their children by politicians whose policies are motivated by money.

Christine Lees, 13 Islestone Court, Tweedmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland

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