Letter: Woodhead's targets

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Chris Woodhead employs the familiar sophist's trick of putting words into his opponents' mouths in order to set up an easy target which he can then hit ("Why testing is no enemy of children's creativity", 20 July). Has anyone said that children should not be able to read, write and count?

Simple common sense is the one thing that has been lacking in trendy educational initiatives over the last two decades. Simple common sense suggests that when you write a National Curriculum, you pilot it in a number of schools rather than rush it into nation-wide application.

Simple common sense suggests that when the first version of the National Curriculum proves inadequate, you take more time over the second version and run a pilot scheme.

Simple common sense suggests that when secondary teachers of English are delivering three different versions of the National Curriculum to three different year groups, someone has blundered.

There are cogent arguments for saying that the National Curriculum has hindered, rather than promoted, the drive to raise standards.

As for Chris Woodhead's assertion that "good teachers are not being driven from our schools by the doctrinaire, bureaucratic stupidity of current government policies", it is only because the escape-route has been barred.

PHILIP D DELNON

Swanscombe, Kent

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