Ministers are too arrogant to listen

2nd June 2000 at 01:00
ESTELLE Morris may have persuaded herself that New Labour is "listening" to teachers (TES, Friday magazine, May 19) but her anger at her hostile National Union of Teachers' conference reception betrays the fact that deep down she's not so sure.

Not listening properly has a knock-on effect; the Government can't listen properly to teachers, teachers have no time to listen to pupils and pupils end up with no experience of what it is like to be really listened to and consequently no sense of themselves as powerful individuals with a real par to play in this democracy.

If the Government does not engage in real listening and try to learn from teachers about what is really involved in the complex and sensitive business of effective teaching, its drive for higher standards of literacy and numeracy will result, ironically, in even more social exclusions and disaffection.

It will have managed to squander, through arrogance, the best opportunity government has ever had to empower all its citizens through education.

Simon Burton


West Sussex

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