Mr Nice and Mr Nasty images pander to teachers' prejudices

27th June 1997 at 01:00
Your contrasting profiles of the chief inspector of schools, Chris Woodhead, and the director of education for Birmingham Tim Brighouse ("Uncompromising polemicist meets evangelical pioneer" TES, June 6) were embarrassing in their partiality.

Where the chief inspector is a "scourge" whose "enemies" include "most teachers, many senior academics and several of Her Majesty's inspectors within the Office for Standards in Education", Brighouse is a "passionate, evangelical speaker, with an unaffected, easy-going manner" who insists that "teachers need support as well as pressure".

This nasty guynice guy caricature panders to the worst prejudices of those teachers who think there is nothing wrong with standards of education in England which sacking Mr Woodhead won't solve. More worryingly, it invites teachers to regard OFSTED as a fundamentally flawed organisation whose research revealing low standards in schools they can safely dismiss.

Your imputation of political bias to Mr Woodhead in writing an essay for a "right-wing think tank, Politeia", is particularly perverse since the essay was one of a series whose other authors included Tim Brighouse.

Both essays were written in the interest of fostering debate over standards in education.

This debate is central to the work of all teachers and it is essential that teachers listen without prejudice to all points of view and assess the evidence on its merits.

Informed discussion of standards amongst teachers is not served by sloppy, partial journalism.

As the house journal of the teaching profession The TES has a duty to give us the facts and let us form our own opinions.

M R CLARKSON 7 Lancaster House Rushcroft Road London SW2

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