What's missing from manifesto

21st February 1997 at 00:00
The components of the teachers' manifesto that you have published so far are fine (TES, January 10): each is an essential ingredient in the task of elevating the profession to its proper place in our society, and each will of course carry a responsibility for teachers to continue to equip themselves to raise school standards in accordance with the country's needs.

I want to contribute a further component that relates to the word "partnership" that nowadays springs to everyone's lips but which often seems one-sided as far as parents and governors are concerned. More seems to be expected of teachers than of the other principal partners. Thus my item in the manifesto about the vital partnership between school and home would be worded as follows: "A fresh partnership for schools: clear home-school links based on systematic, contractual arrangements that set out mutual obligations and statutorily restrict the number of parent-governors to the number that can legally be elected by the parent body."

A clause of this nature is needed to obviate excesses practised by far too many governing bodies, excesses that lead to a serious erosion of teachers' professionalism and, in some unfortunate cases, to usurpation of the professional executive function which must rest with headteachers and teachers.

JOHN SWALLOW

Past president National Association of Head Teachers 37 Malford Grove London E18

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