Real reason they hated Tyndale

28th July 2006 at 01:00
I was amused in reading Gerald Haigh's rehash of the "Tyndale affair", (TES, July 7), to learn that after 30 years I am facing a further charge of increasing state control and bureaucracy in education!

Of course Tyndale was not really about educational method but teacher politics. There was consensus among the local education authorities, managers and teachers around the "progressive" methods embodied in the Plowden report. However, it was unique for left-wing teachers to occupy this territory rather than the usual pay and conditions ground. What challenged the liberal establishment was the realisation that such methods could be used to address children's thinking on communal property ownership and genuine democratic participation.

As for centralised control, education reflects the needs of the state. We are tightly regulated and policed because of social fragmentation and a breakdown of ideological consensus.

Finally, Mr Haigh refers to Lorenz's "Butterfly theory": perhaps the difference between the liberals and the left during the Tyndale conflict was that the teachers' ideas happened to "sting like a bee".

Brian Haddow

Former teacher at William Tyndale junior school

Islington

London

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