Teachers urged to 'retreat from the barricades'

Howard Davies, director- general of the Confederation of British Industry, yesterday called on teachers to 'retreat from the barricades' and make the Government's changes to education work.

But, as he urged a less confrontational approach at the North of England Education Conference in Blackpool, opposition to the way tests in English for 14- year-olds are being managed was hardening among teachers and local authorities.

Harrow, a Conservative-run north London borough, is writing to John Patten, the Secretary of State for Education, to express concern over the arrangements and call on him to postpone the tests. Harrow's GCSE results last summer would have been the best in England if the borough had not been pipped at the post by the Scilly Isles, where there is only one secondary school. Parents polled at nine of Harrow's ten secondary schools are overwhelmingly opposed to the tests, teachers say.

Mr Davies, who had been substituted as a speaker at a late stage for Mr Patten, said that disputes between local authorities, the Department for Education, teachers and unions were baffling to those outside the education system. 'What is now required above all else is for peace to break out within the education system, and for a general retreat from the barricades in the interests of the children within the system and our future prosperity as a nation.'

He said the focus must now be on making the new education system, created by reforms over the last five years, work. 'Constant dispute about the national curriculum, testing, assessment league tables and opting out create the impression that the education establishment is more interested in its own internal disputes than in the fate of the children in its care.

'Please concentrate instead on making the best use of the pounds 30bn you are given to make something of our children. In general the Government has been on the right track. Furthermore the forces of change they have unleashed cannot now be sent to the back of the classroom.'

He singled out opposition to the recent school exam league tables as 'the height of folly' but added: 'I believe on the other hand, that for the Government to take upon itself to publish the results in an aggressive and unsophisticated way was also unwise.'

Mr Davies criticised the 'crab- like' progress of the Government towards its aim of creating a system which harnessed the disciplines of the market to stimulate an improvement in standards.

The Government's determination to break the power of local education authorities has left a bizarre situation in which town halls were 'beached whales' with no obvious purpose. It had also taken too long to grasp the nettle of devising a funding system for opt-out schools so they did not receive different amounts of cash according to their location.

Sir Claus Moser, an education adviser to the Prince of Wales and Warden of Wadham College, Oxford, told the conference that schools should be guaranteed a share of the new national lottery. They should be given about pounds 20m if the lottery raises the expected pounds 1bn each year.

News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary Teacher

£100 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of pay, Free CPD: Randstad Education Sou...

Supply Teachers Required

£100 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of Pay, Excellent CPD : Randstad Educati...

NQT and Experienced Primary Teachers Urgently required

£90 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: NQT and Experienced Primary Teac...

Year 1 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day + Excellent rates of pay, Free CPD: Randstad Education Sou...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor