PRIMARY HEADTEACHERS see their schools as providing a contrast to the prevailing culture of celebrity worship, selfishness and violence, said the review's first interim report.
The 70 heads who took part in focus groups wanted an education that "opened children's eyes to the downsides of 21st-century life" and that "encouraged children to stand back from social trends, examine them critically and make up their minds about them".
Professor Robin Alexander, director of the two-year project, was due to speak to 130 delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers' primary conference in Bristol today. He said heads were supportive of the Every Child Matters agenda, ambivalent about the primary national strategy and hostile about the national curriculum tests.
"We are not getting people agin' the Government," he said. "It's much more subtle and very discriminating."
Mick Brookes, general secretary of the NAHT, was due to speak at the conference yesterday. Talking to The TES, he said the Government would struggle to improve standards unless it put more trust in headteachers.
He said: "You certainly don't motivate children who are falling behind by increasing the pressure. There is no greater madness than doing the same thing but expecting the outcome to be different. We need a radical new approach. It is time to trust schools."
He said the union had estimated that the introduction of the Financial Management Standard in Schools would cost primaries pound;26 million over three years in hiring auditors and training. The Government wants 40 per cent of primaries to meet the standard by March next year and all of them by 2010.