Stronger voice

21st November 1997 at 00:00
Your editorial (TES, October 31) hit exactly the right target in concluding its review of the first six months of Government policy by indicating that the next step "must be a credible strategy for getting the teachers on board". Let us hope this message is heeded. It is already six months overdue. The psychological and social importance of long-term strategies to restore the professional identity and status of teachers cannot be overestimated and was clearly a priority on May 1.

Several of the policies the Government has introduced in its first six months of office - focused on failing schools and "incompetent" teachers - have maintained a deficit view of the profession and done little to answer the fundamental issue so well expressed by Peter Smith - "How to produce a highly motivated, self-challenging teacher workforce with the energy, drive and commitment to create a world-class education service" (TES, October 31). No amount of target setting by others or short-term policies focused on the few will produce this end. What is needed is a strategy that gives teachers a stronger voice.

HELEN SIMONS

Professor of education

University of Southampton

Southampton

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