TTA not tackling racial inequality

17th July 1998 at 01:00
THE ANTI-RACIST Teacher Education Network wholeheartedly concurs with Sir Herman Ouseley's "blistering attack" on those responsible for the initial teacher training-curriculum.

We applaud The TES for drawing attention to the seriousness of this issue in its leader comment and by placing it on the front page. We have consistently drawn the Teacher Training Agency's attention to its failure to address inequality, particularly racial inequality, in its documents. We agree with Sir Herman that it is "scandalous" that after so many years so little has been done.

We fail to understand, unless he has been misquoted, how Stephen Hillier, head of corporate management at the TTA, can claim that the agency was "not prepared to prescribe" anti-racist work on the initial training curriculum.

It surely cannot be prescription that the TTA shrinks from, since it has been instrumental in establishing and supporting the current prescriptive curriculum and other measures. Is it, in fact, anti-racism that it shrinks from?

To imply, as Mr Hillier does, that inequality is effectively addressed by the requirement that newly-qualified teachers should teach pupils to the same level "notwithstanding individual difference" is ill-informed beyond belief.

We would have thought that, at the very least, the Stephen Lawrence case would have alerted the TTA to the fact that schools and teachers do have a very significant part to play in countering and replacing negative and hostile attitudes and behaviour. When will the TTA face up to the consequences of its head-in-the-sand approach to racism?

Alison Hatt. Anti-Racist Teacher Education Network. London SW17

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