New principals of pedagogy

18th September 2009 at 01:00

I enjoyed Alan Thomson's discussion with Dame Ruth Silver ("From Camelot to corporate: Silver's last golden nuggets", September 4) but was surprised by her assertion that the new group of principals "are less ideological".

Dame Ruth offers a perspective in which the job of being a principal has transformed from managing teaching and learning to running a business.

However, Professor Frank Coffield of London University's Institute of Education argued in this paper on July 24 ("Quick lesson: learning first, business second") that perpetrating this management model is symptomatic of much that is wrong with our education system at the moment.

That is why I was delighted that Dame Ruth then went on to say that principals need to have a love of learning in order to do the job. Yet love is not enough - it needs to extend into the difficult territory of expertise.

I hope that this is the new ideology of the latest group of college principals. As leaders of colleges, we are committed to researching, understanding and developing pedagogy. In living this commitment, we will cultivate colleges that provide time and space for excellent teaching and learning to develop.

Paul Wakeling

Principal, Havering Sixth Form College.

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