Thinking outside the box is not what real teachers do

11th October 2013 at 01:00

Alex Wood's article "Boycott the box-ticking" (4 October) was, as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education used to say, "interesting". Certainly, I found it interesting that in your new format you found space for a coelacanthic viewpoint that would have done credit to the union meetings I used to attend in the 1980s.

The reason the unnamed official was prepared to allow the mythical headteacher "David" a month to send in the school's learning and teaching policy was presumably to give our complacent colleague at least half a chance to engage with his staff, students and parents in a discussion about an activity at the centre of education. An establishment that cannot provide a cogent statement of its approach to learning and teaching is hardly worth the title "school". To suggest that it is adequate merely to top and tail someone else's policy and regard that as good enough is not good enough.

The article calls for readers to adopt some of David's strategies. Do that if you like, but do not pretend to be a teacher. The essence of the role is to be self-reflective, and - in the second decade of the 21st century - to be able to provide at least some evidence that your school puts learning and teaching at its core. I agree completely that the existence of a written policy provides only limited evidence of this, but at least it's a start, and that's not "box-ticking" by anyone's definition.

Graham Short, Executive director of educational and social services, East Ayrshire Council.

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