Time to slay the monster

26th January 2001 at 00:00
JANICE Gill wonders when the Government will do something about the crushing demands made on teachers (TES, January 12). Will teachers never learn?

Over the past 10 years teachers stood idly by and allowed successive governments to dismember a humane, locally-controlled school system and reassemble the pieces to create an authoritarian monster serving the goals of the marketplace and the egos of politicians.

The solutions sought by Ms Gill might soothe teacher stress in the short-term but she fails to appreciate that government intervention is the root of the problem not the route to a solution.

Giving teachers "financial help for studying in their own time" won't re-humanise a curriculum designed to serve the nation rather than the learner.

When the new authoritarianism first reared its ugly head in schools, teachers looked to Labour. The present Governmenthas taken schools from the frying pan into an enthusiastically stoked fire and yet The TES tells us that most teachers will still support them at election time.

Schools criticise the partiality of OFSTED judgments but then add to its credibility by including selected quotations in job advertisements. Teachers overwhelmingly claimed to oppose performance-related pay but then three-quarters of those eligible immediately applied for a pound;2,000 pat on the head (30 pieces of silver adjusted for inflation)! Teachers collaborated with Doctor Frankenstein all the way along the line and now moan that the monster keeps stepping on their toes.

It is time for teachers to go beyond Ms Gill's wistful appeal to realise that central government control sacrifices educational ideals to political expediency.

Christopher Draper

8 Rhys Evans Close Penrhyn Bay, Llandudno

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