Friday, 29 February 2008

Political interference is damaging children's education, report claims

This was the Government that promised its priority would be education, education, education. Instead, as a slew of extraordinary reports are making clear, it will be remembered by schools as the Government that could not leave well alone.

The biggest inquiry into primary education for 40 years concluded yesterday that Labour's tight, centralised control of England's primary schools has had a devastating impact on children's education. Micromanagement, meddling and a succession of ministerial edicts have killed the spontaneity in the nation's classrooms. Teachers have been stripped of their powers of discretion. And the net result of a decade of new Labour "reform" has almost certainly been a decline in the quality of education that the young receive.

It would have been better, concludes the Cambridge University-based Primary Review – an ongoing inquiry into primary education in England – if the Government had done nothing at all.

The four reports published today follow 18 earlier reports that have painted a devastating picture of government interference in primary schools and laid bare ministers' obsession with testing and desire to dictate the minutiae of classroom practice.

They say government influence in the classroom has increased since 1997 to such an extent that English primary schools are now subject to a "state theory of learning" in which teachers are not only told what to teach but how they should teach it. Read more
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