Letter: Wherefore art thou, Milton?

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Sir: The danger of the national curriculum, its committees, orders in council, statutory instruments, non-statutory advice, guidelines for assessments, standard assessment tasks, profile components, rules for the publication of results, linked counter orders and their counter committees and paraphernalia, is that no teacher has time to read anything else. Compulsory Milton] I'd love time for a spot of Milton or, as you suggest (leading article 12 December), Blake, Byron or Hopkins, but I am trapped by the national curriculum's paper mountain.

Parents want teachers for their children who read widely in and out of their subjects, who go to the theatre, visit art galleries and even read the newspapers. They do not want drudges made boggle-eyed and angry by the latest lot of paper or another pronouncement by some government placeman.

If anything is to be compulsory, let it be free reading weeks for teachers where they may turn to Milton or Blake at their leisure and return refreshed to their charges. Those who wish to prescribe will end by determining to proscribe. Enough of this foolishness.

Yours sincerely,


Head, Elliott School

London, SW15