School system is to blame, not teachers

7th September 2007 at 01:00
Peter Wilby is not alone in equating teachers with schools or schools with education (TES, August 31). But they are not the same thing. No one should complain about teachers, generally. They are, in the main, hard-working, dedicated, doing their best in often trying circumstances.

The problem lies with schools, or rather the politicised, targeted, league tabled, centrally over-administered institutions for which teachers must work, teaching subjects in which, to quote Jeff Marsden, another of your correspondents, the pupils are "wastefully being forced to learn much of what they do not want to know". At secondary level, pupils must be allowed to choose areas of study. Schools are too narrow in focus (which is mostly academic) to provide that choice. But teachers can. Perhaps pupils' interest in education and learning (not schools) might be stimulated so that their free time ceases to involve "hanging out", or even violence.

Peter Wilby might be interested to read Chance of a Lifetime by the late Jonathan Langdale and myself, in which this argument is developed. l

John Harrison

Independent training consultant,


East Sussex

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