Lack of trust in teachers is ‘holding back education’

The Telegraph is reporting that the president of the ASCL has said the government should trust the judgment and professional knowledge of teachers to drive the necessary changes in schools…

Peter Kent, urged policymakers to take a step back, as creativity and innovation in the profession have been “held back by so much prescription”.

Delivering his speech to school leaders at the ASCL’s annual conference in London, the former head teacher said that the desire of policymakers to sound “tough” and “robust” meant that discussions about education rarely explored the subject of trust.

“Words and phrases such as ‘requires improvement’, ‘standards’ and ‘zero tolerance’ sound much more challenging than a simple word such as ‘trust’,” he said. “Yet scratch the surface and there is widespread agreement that a lack of trust is holding back our system.”

Mr Kent went on to cite Andrew Hall, CEO of the exam board AQA, who recently summed up the conclusions of a working group on the future of assessment.

Mr Hall said: “Trust has broken down between successive governments and teachers – and that’s something that needs to be rebuilt over time”.

According to Mr Kent, Government should “confine itself to core functions such as fair funding and ensuring an adequate supply of teachers” and then leave the rest to the profession…


I’m sure most readers will support this sentiment, but as someone who is not a teacher, is it as simple as that? How do we know teachers’ intentions and ideas are necessarily the right ones for society more broadly (rather than, for example, in the best interests of teachers themselves)? 


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Categories: Policy.


  1. Janet2

    Very few teachers enter teaching to foster their ‘best interests’ (whatever they are).  If they did, they wouldn’t choose teaching with its heavy load, stress and constantly being denigrated by politicians and the media.

    Why did I enter teaching?  Because it can be the best job in the world when a lesson’s going well and you see the ‘light bulb moment’.  Why did I leave?  After 20 years I was burnt out.  And I was sick to death of hearing about my short hours, my long holidays and how I put my ‘interests’ before my pupils.

    Tell that to my daughter who, I’m ashamed to say, often thought I was putting other people’s children before her.

  2. TW

    “is it as simple as that?”

    No, of course not.  But accountability is one thing, ignorant interference is something else.

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