Now is the time for a change

21st January 2000 at 00:00
IT WAS fascinating to read of the Secretary of State for Education and Employment's plans to transform education (TES, January 14).

In his speech to the North of England Conference he began to articulate a vision for a comprehensive education system fit for the 21st century. It was full of ideas and enthusiasm and it was difficult not to compare this with Mr Woodhead's article (TES, January 7). This contained no ideas - indeed it was scornful of anyone bold enough to put forward suggestions for change.

Anyone who has read the Royal Society of Arts Opening Minds will know that the report stresses the importanceof the traditional curriculum subjects and their role in our culture and heritage.

What we have dared to do is challenge the assumption that a curriculum must be, and can only be, described in terms of the subjects it comprises. We do not advocate an annual rethink but yes, we do want an education system which equips all individuals to meet the demands they will face throughout the rest of their lives. We do not believe that this is "utilitarian zeal", perhaps more of the "genuine transformation" that Mr Blunkett seeks.

Lesley James

Head of Education

8 John Adam Street

London WC2N 6EZ

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