Ministers, look before you leap!

10th June 2005 at 01:00
When will politicians engage in joined-up thinking? Your article "Teachers abandon sinking ships" (TES, May 27) shows the fruits of successive governments' failure to think through the consequences of policies before putting them into practice.

Once inspections, league tables and performance management came on the scene, it was easy to see that the better teachers would gravitate to the "more successful schools". This is highlighted by the figures on staff turnover.

Instead of the Government making sure that the middle-class "leafy suburb" schools are well-resourced, why not ensure that schools in the most challenging areas get the quality of teachers they need to improve pupil performance?

Once that happens, we will no longer need to spend money on building new classrooms to expand popular schools, or bear the costs of subsidising less popular schools, and eventually paying the cost of closing them. We would find that the money available could be directed to raising the achievement of all pupils, and not just the ones whose parents are likely to vote for a particular party in the next general election.

So come on Government, "think before you act". You may be surprised that you can achieve your goals without having to go down so many blind alleys such as education action zones, Fresh Start and academies.

Phil Baker

Highworth, Swindon

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