Playing chicken with teachers

18th July 2003 at 01:00
It is perfectly possible to take classes of 80 pupils, and educate them successfully to a high standard. Where do such classes take place? Usually in developing countries.

The Philippines is a case in point. There, education is sought-after, uniforms are mandatory, and the full support of parents is guaranteed.

Here, regrettably, thousands of students are unable to behave themselves sufficiently to enable such a system to work. The reasons are brutally simple: dysfunctional families; misconceived ideas of human rights; and policy-makers who have no regard or respect for teachers.

Charles Clarke does not seem so different in my eyes from Robert Lowe (the minister in charge of education policy in the 1860s), who remarked that the teachers were like those chickens who demanded a say in the sauce in which they were to be served.

Greg Robb 27 Adelaide Road Ashford, Middlesex

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