Not to snap Twigg's ideas, but ..

12th October 2012 at 01:00

While there were good things in Stephen Twigg's speech to the Labour Party conference, he needs to go back to the drawing board on some key proposals. Teach First cannot be a substitute for a proper strategy for the teaching profession. As the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development concludes, the best-performing systems rely not on recruiting the top third of graduates but on developing existing teachers.

He needs to think about his proposed National College for Teaching Excellence. Teachers hate bright ideas imposed for their good. Lessons need to be learned about why there was little protest when the General Teaching Council for England was abolished. I'm in favour of a teachers' professional council with responsibilities for sharing good practice, but such a proposal must come from teachers and their unions if it is to succeed.

And finally, the proposed "vocational baccalaureate" is flawed. Michael Gove's assertion that GCSEs are broken and beyond repair is a calumny and Mr Twigg should have rejected it. His examination reviewer, Chris Husbands, should go back to the Tomlinson report for inspiration and politely park this idea.

John Bangs, Honorary visiting fellow, University of Cambridge.

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