Tony Little, head of Eton, has intervened in the education debate with claims that are more frequently heard in maintained schools and CPR reports: the exam system is no longer fit for purpose; copying Singapore and Shanghai is not the way to raise standards; there’s more to education than league tables; children need a broad rich curriculum as well as the basics …
No less interesting is DfE’s dismissive response: ‘We make no apology for holding schools to account for the results their pupils achieve in national tests and public examinations. Parents deserve to know that their children are receiving the very best possible teaching.’
Sounds familiar? Yes indeed: here’s DfE’s predecessor, DCSF, responding to one of CPR’s interim reports in 2008: ‘We make no apology for our focus on school standards. We want every child to achieve to the best of their abilities, succeed and be happy, and we know that parents and teachers want that too. The idea that children are over tested is not a view that the government accepts.’
Different government, same script, same scriptwriter, same populist ploy of pitting professionals against parents, same refusal to debate the issues that matter. See ‘Two worlds of education’. QED.