The puzzle of New Labour

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
Like many of your readers I am genuinely puzzled and anxious about the effects of New Labour's policies on primary education.

Are we experiencing the re-professionalisation of primary teachers through the increased flexibility given schools over the non-core subjects of the national curriculum, the valuably detailed teaching approaches of the national numeracy and literacy projects, the Teacher Training Agency's new demanding standards including the mandatory national professional qualification for headteachers, and the long-awaited setting up of a General Teaching Council?

Or are we witnessing the de-professionalisation of primary teachers through the imposition of a neo-elementary curriculum, denial of autonomy and flexibility in respect of teaching methodology in number, reading and writing, a monolithic state-controlled programme of so-called "professional" development; a headship qualification which does not involve participants in scrutinising education policy, and the absence of any real power in an advisory-only GTC?

I don't know but I fear the latter. If my fears prove justified what implications will that have for the problem of recruiting teachers of academic ability, imagination and vision?

Professor COLIN RICHARDS

Formerly HM Inspector, staff inspector (DES) and specialist adviser for primary education (OFSTED) Ulverston, Cumbria

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now