Education Letter: Labour Pain

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The Independent Online
John Dunford seems to want it both ways ("New Labour, same labours", EDUCATION, 24 June). He complains about open enrolment, parental preference and league tables driving a market-based system - yet he refuses to consider whether these might be the explanation for the "extremely successful" state schools in the period. He then grumbles that teachers' best efforts are publicly criticised (where?) after complaining about Stephen Byers' naming and shaming the worst-performing schools.

On curriculum, he appears to grumble that the Government has concentrated efforts on primary schools while neglecting its stated intention to develop post-14 structures, yet he warns that "governments usually make mistakes when they try to legislate on too many issues at once".

He wants the Government to give up "annual appraisal linked to pay" and to create "a new career structure that rewards the best teachers very well".

However, Mr Dunford does not explain how to identify the "best teachers" or how their performance should be monitored.

Time for a switch, surely, to less negative responses.

B A WAINEWRIGHT

Pinner, Middlesex

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