Time to expose the emperor

19th May 2000 at 01:00
YOUR leader (TES, May 5) incorrectly notes that, when the regulations were introduced for the induction year: "Everybody thought it was a good thing".

What you should have written is that, "Everybody who is anybody thought it was a good thing". Unlike the great and the good, many of us poor nobodies spotted the fatal flaws immediately.

Within days of the procedures arriving in school, I had prepared a briefing paper for our governors identifying all the problems that are now emerging.

The induction year is typical of the way complex and important policy is developed, in isolation, with no overall view of the management of a school.

If the Department for Education and Employment were given 12 months to design a three-bedroom semi, they would establish a separate committee to design each room, allow no communication between committees and establish no overall responsibility for the resource budget.

After a year, the bathroom committee would report that they had established 900 standards for bathrooms and produced a design complete with sunken marble Jacuzzi, three power-showers and a choice of bidets to suit any possible size and shape of nether region.

Their report would be universally see as a good thing, producing the perfect bathroom, even though it occupied 80 per cent of the available space in the house and consumed 120 per cent of the total budget.

Experienced teachers are the legion of the lost. When we dare raise our timorous voices to question idiotic and transparently unworkable legislation, we are immediately labelled by the great and the good as cynical and burnt out, a disgrace to the profession. When the legislation predictably fails, somehow nobody is ever held accountable or named and shamed.

So often are we castigated that, when the emperor of education emerges clad in the latest legislation, so finely and delicately crafted that only the great and the good can perceive the fine cut and close fit, we poor nobodies are too ashamed to admit we cannot see his clothes at all.

As a profession, we seem to be running scared. We need the courage to cry, "Oi, I can see his willy", each and every time he emerges clad in hot air. We might, just might, then get an emperor prepared to ask real professionals to help draft policies that can be sensibly applied in real schools by real teachers.

Mark Bindley

22 Burchnall Close

Deeping St James

Peterborough


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