Head teach versus unions and government – who is right?

This morning's Times reports the High Master of St Paul's School as advocating changes to slow down changes, it seems. The news item says:

Martin Stephen, who is chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC), proposed a standing commission of employers, universities, teachers and parents to decide changes to secondary schools. It would be comparable to the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, which sets interest rates. Government would be relegated to paying for its recommendations.

He said that the education system had suffered so much upheaval under recent governments that it now resembled “a wound operated on so often that all that is left is scar tissue”.

To which many teachers would say 'Amen.' The government, of course, doesn't. 'A spokesman' apparently said – and you can imagine the tone of voice he used – “We live in a democracy where the public elects people to reform public services.”

Back to your blackboards, ignorant peasants. We have a big enough majority to disregard interfering people like 'universities, teachers and parents.' What do they know?

Mr Stephen also proposed something that David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, called “one of the most outrageous I have heard in many a long day”.

This was that some teachers should be reserved for teaching only brighter pupils. Here is what he is reported as saying:

“It is grossly politically incorrect to say so, but how reasonable is it of us to expect a person with a 2:1 in physics to teach not only a bright and aspirational A-level class but also to teach those for whom a C grade at GCSE in combined sciences is an almost impossible dream?

“Why do we raise up our hands in horror at the suggestion that to be a teacher, a colleague must teach across all ability bands? Why do we damn a top mathematician or physicist when they cannot intuitively relate to a pupil who does not share their passion for the subject?

“Why do we insist that all teachers be all things to all pupils?”

I make no comment on the wisdom or otherwise of this idea. All I want to say is, Please may I have a job like that?

Over to you for your comment.

P.S. I've just heard on the radio that the Tory education chap is proposing to remove two thirds of the paper-pushers from the Department of Education etc. I know people say the Tories have no chance of getting into power yet, but wouldn't this move fit in well with devolving educational decisions to teachers, parents et al.? Just a thought.