In praise of Brighouse

7th March 2003 at 00:00
As usual Tim Brighouse manages through humour to bring home an important fact.

The education of children is not achieved through assiduously following the rule book offered by government or the local education authority. It is about the creative ability of a school community to recognise their own needs and so formulate their own agenda.

Professor Brighouse is right. The headteacher who is confident enough to say no, and is then able to offer a real alternative, will go a long way towards making a school a place of wisdom and not just a factory of knowledge. We value too little the professional judgment of those entrusted with the leadership of our schools and follow instead a data-led argument that so often parts company with the child mid-stream.

Having just retired after 24 years of headship in three different schools, with a copious amount of grey hair, I would regard the title "subversive" with a certain degree of satisfaction. Postman and Weingartner wrote that marvellous book in the early Seventies, Teaching as a subversive activity.

Well worth a re-read now, some 30 years on.

Chris McDonnell

1 High Chase Rise

Little Haywood, Staffs

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