Stop using education as a political ‘weapon’, says top private school head

The Telegraph is reporting that a leading independent school head has warned that the desire by successive education secretaries to ‘make their mark’ is playing with the futures of thousands of children…

Speaking to the Telegraph, Sue Freestone, head of King’s Ely, backed the creation of a ‘College of Teaching’ but said that more could be done to ensure education doesn’t remain a “political battlefield”.

Ms Freestone, who has been head of King’s Ely for 10 years, said that the huge amount of change in the curriculum, in the status of teachers and within education as a whole had been “stimulated by the desire of successive ministers to make their mark.”

She added that this lack of continuity in education policy was affecting “the future of thousands of children” and that placing education back in the hands of the teaching profession would be beneficial both to schools and pupils.

“I don’t know of any other profession where you spend years training to do a job well, to then be told how to do it by someone who hasn’t got the first idea,” she said, “but that’s what happens in education.”

“Would you allow somebody who didn’t know how to take temperature, to dictate to a surgeon how to amputate someone’s arm? No you wouldn’t. It’s just crazy,” she added.

“We have highly trained professionals who aren’t allowed the freedom to do the job they believe is to the best advantage of their pupils,” Ms Freestone continued. “I’m not talking about every teacher having their own way; I’m talking about organisations working together in such a way that they can enable learning and development of pupils.”

Last week, Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, backed plans for a new ‘College of Teaching’ that will provide training, set professional standards for teaching and carry out research to improve standards in schools.

The new educational body – which, it is hoped, will be seen as the equivalent of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons – will also be completely independent from Government.

However, Ms Freestone said she would like to see a ‘Royal Commission on Education’, which would “set up the parameters in which any Government had to work: the boundaries, beyond which they could not step in terms of interfering with continuity of education for children.”…

More at: Stop using education as a political ‘weapon’, says top private school head

 

Reactions to Sue Freestone’s comments? Is it actually true that teachers are uniquely hard-done by when it comes to having people from outside the profession telling them what to do? (and – although clearly not a popular sentiment – is it not the legitimate job of politicians is to lay down how state-funded institutions are run on behalf of the electorate?). But what about the idea of a Royal Commission on Education – could that provide a useful balance? Please give us your feedback in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Categories: Policy and Teaching.

Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Now a private school HT has said it, will MPs actually listen? Or will their egos prevent them from leaving well alone?

  2. TW

    The role of politicians should only be to ensure high standards and value for money on the basis of informed professional advice.

    It is not for the likes Blunkett, Gove, Gibb etc to show how ignorant they are by wasting huge amounts of public money imposing their stupid ideas on something they know nothing about.

  3. TW

    The role of politicians should only be to ensure high standards and value for money on the basis of informed professional advice.

    It is not for the likes Blunkett, Gove, Gibb etc to show how ignorant they are by wasting huge amounts of public money imposing their stupid ideas on something they know nothing about.

  4. lennyvalentino

    SchoolsImprove Some powerful statements in this. Lets hear more from state HT’s and LA’s along similar lines. Too much forelock tugging imo

  5. Kathfanderson

    SchoolsImprove Interesting debate. Where should accountability rest? Heads & governors carry the can whatever policies are dictated by govt

  6. charlieferrett

    SchoolsImprove I would vote for a party who promised no changes to education and let professionals decide strategy. #ukedchat

  7. charlieferrett

    SchoolsImprove I would vote for a party who promised no changes to education and let professionals decide strategy. #ukedchat

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