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Warnings that were ignored

David Blunkett's denunciation of the teacher unions is fuelled by guilt. The education select committee warned the Government, back in November 1997: "We conclude there is a crisis in teacher recruitment. We have grave concerns that if this is not tackled then the drive to raise standards may not be realised." The chair of the committee was Margaret Hodge, now an employment minister.

Following that warning, my book, The Best Policy?, traces a pattern, repeated for more than three years. Education experts and union leaders frequently warned of problems, only to be waved away.

The squawking from the Department for Education and Employment is the sound of chickens coming home to roost.

Paul Francis

7 Swan Meadown

Much Wenlock, Shropshire

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