Woodhead puts regimented teaching on the chopping block

22nd May 2009 at 01:00

Ronald Reagan had the gift of being able to say appalling things in such a pleasant, mellifluous way that people thought they agreed with him. Chris Woodhead was the opposite: the self-satisfied, contemptuous manner in which he was apt to speak about teachers made reasonable points seem inflammatory. But much of what he is now saying is fair, and it is good that he has realised that the national curriculum, potentially a useful servant, is a clumsy, incompetent master.

The unfortunate victim of a cruel illness, Professor Woodhead remains a bright, cultivated chap. But it was naive to suppose that conversion to his idiosyncratic educational agenda led New Labour to embrace Ofsted in 1997; its morphing into an agency of quasi-Stalinist control was predictable. Now he laments that teachers do not resist regimentation and ill-conceived initiatives because they lack the will and morale to do so. He really should not be surprised.

Andy Connell, Appleby, Cumbria.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


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, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today