Licensed to Meddle

pink_floyd_meddleThe cover of Pink Floyd’s Meddle album represents an ear. If only politicians would start listening, and stop meddling with things they don’t understand…

As most All Change Please! readers will doubtless be aware, Tristram (absolutely no relation) Hunt recently came up with the wonderfully meddlesome idea of making all teachers apply for re-registration every five or so years. And that single idea has confirmed what many of us had already begun to realise, that the Shadow Secretary for Education has just as much insight into the wonderful world of teaching and learning as Michael Gove does. Which is, of course, absolutely none at all.

It’s almost as if there are legions of highly qualified and experienced teachers on the dole queue all lining up ready and eager to take the places of the ranks of our supposedly incompetent teachers. The reality is that in many schools it is often a question of whether to employ an under-performing teacher or no teacher at all.

The shame is that this story could have been spun a completely different way. All Change Please! would therefore instead like to announce a new scheme to give teachers the opportunity to improve their practice through a period of extended professional development and support, intended to enable them to update their knowledge and skills. Suitable candidates for these opportunities will be selected by a team of professionals who will visit schools to assess their suitability for the programme.

See, it’s really not that difficult, is it?

What Gove, and now Hunt, seem entirely oblivious to is the damage they are doing to teacher morale and long-term recruitment. In perhaps justifiably criticising and attempting to take action to deal with a minority of under-performing teachers, they speak and act as if their concern is with the standards of the entire profession. As a result, teachers have inadvertently been made to feel that they are all incompetent Marxist Enemies of Promise, and, despite the fact that they know quite well that nothing could be further from the truth, are well aware that that is how they are now perceived by the general public.

The problem though is that historically teachers have never really stood up for themselves. Time and time again they foolishly, naively but totally unselfishly continue to put the children first and struggle on regardless of all the government initiatives that succeed in somehow making their a job more difficult and time consuming to do, and erode their social and professional status.

Now there is really only one option left. Passive Resistance. If all teachers refused to teach the new national curriculum, refused to teach when an Ofsted inspector was in the classroom and refused to apply to renew their licenses, then there would actually be very little a government of any party could do about it.

Meanwhile, along with every teacher in the country, for the first time ever, All Change Please! finds itself wondering what UKIP’s education policy is…?

And finally, here’s a much more appropriate policy suggestion: Breakdown Cover…