Told you so

11th February 2000 at 00:00
WHILE welcoming the genuine concerns outlined so forthrightly by Doreen Thomson on Higher Still English (TESS, February 4), I am surprised she is not aware of the campaign of analytical criticism carried out by the Scottish Association of Teachers of Language and Literature and its predecessor over the past two and a half years.

The problems she indicates are among those which we predicted would arise : seriously inadequate in-service, an impractical and undesirable unitary framework imposed on all subjects and all pupils, chronic over-assessment which destroys genuine educational activity and worth, increased pupil stress for a devalued certificate, paucity and povert of materials, etc etc. It gives us no pleasure to see our predictions fulfilled.

Where I believe she is mistaken is in thinking that her pupils are bound to fail. That is not what Higher Still is for. Its purpose is to create the illusion that more and more pupils are 'passing' at higher and higher levels.

It is not only teachers of English who should be shouting foul but everyone who knows that genuine educational values (not the training values embodied in Higher Still) are at the source and in the aspirations of a decent society.

Tony McManus

Scottish Association of Teachers of Language and Literature

23 Buckstone Crescent, Edinburgh

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


Get Tes online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to Tes online and the Tes app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off Tes Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the Tes online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order today