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Their futures, not ours

Having been a member and school representative of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) for many years, I am asking if we can focus more on schoolchildren's futures than our own.

England's education secretary Michael Gove is introducing policies that will drastically harm our children's futures. Union action would be more legitimised by making this more of an issue. It would also increase public sympathy.

My issues are these: the champions of the GCSE exam reforms justify them by trumpeting that they are good for getting jobs and competing in a modern global economy. Not only is this a one-dimensional, stunted and myopic view of what education is for, there is also a paradox here. To compete in a modern world, why do you need a traditional 1950s curriculum?

Employers want recruits who are imaginative and creative. But the plan is to get rid of many creative subjects. And what exactly is meant by "rigour" in exams? That more people fail? According to England's schools inspectorate Ofsted, schools are "failing" their brightest students. However, the UK government is introducing more difficult exams because of so-called grade inflation, which is also allegedly failing our students. Can Mr Gove talk to those at Ofsted or, better still, listen to teachers? If the NUT makes children the primary focus of its protest then there would be universal support.

Dave Walsham, Drama teacher, Tatworth, Somerset.

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