Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Education Forum member, Dennis Hayes, comments on Conservative policy for teachers

Brazen Effrontery Won’t Change Teaching
David Cameron’s ideas to make teaching ‘brazenly elitist’ miss the point. What is missing in schools today is the idea that their priority should be education. Under New Labour this was simply forgotten as schools were made to abandon teaching in favour of political projects that included everything from social inclusion to weight watching. Now the Tories are continuing the tradition of tinkering not thinking. Unless they state clearly what education is and why it should be valued for its own sake, no playing around with the entrance qualification to the job, or with pay as Cameron’s critics suggested, will make teaching an ‘elite’ profession. What is elite about teaching is that it should offer children the possibility, as Matthew Arnold said, of learning ‘the best that is known and thought in the world.’ That should be the motto of any new Department FOR Education set up by the next government.