Parliament and Politics: Concern over new education adviser

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Indy Politics
MINISTERS yesterday provoked anger in the education world by appointing a traditionalist to the advisory body on what children should learn in school.

Dr John Marks, director of the Educational Research Centre, who said last month that a return to traditional teaching methods would double standards, has been made a member of the National Curriculum Council.

His appointment is part of the Government's attempt to defeat members of 'the education establishment' whom it believes are subverting its reforms.

Last year, the heads of the curriculum council and of the School Examinations and Assessment Council resigned and were replaced by two former members of the Downing Street policy unit.

Dr Marks, an Open University tutor who supports whole-class teaching, selection at 11 and streaming by ability, was made a member of the examinations council in 1990. He is secretary of the education study group at the Centre for Policy Studies.

Professor Ted Wragg, director of Exeter University's school of education, said: 'People of one political persuasion are now dominating the whole of the curriculum and examinations. The right-wing has a stranglehold.' And a spokesman for the National Union of Teachers said the appointment was 'due more to the Government's political approach than the needs of children'.

Two more council appointments were also announced: Professor Alan Smithers, director of the centre for education and employment research at Manchester University, and John Burn, head of Longbenton Community School, in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Professor Smithers is an expert on teacher supply and vocational education; Mr Burn is a member of the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Training. All three will be council members for three years.