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National politics

The teachers are coming

Today’s letter in the Guardian from 50 totally objective teachers who in no way represent any kind of producer interest is only an opening shot in a soon to come blast of anger and agitation from a workforce that fails our country in a huge way. It seems to have been organised by a group called Progressive Education Network (PEN) which is sponsored by Estelle Morris the refreshingly honest Labour education minister who resigned because she thought she was not up to the job. I don’t think it is a stretch to call these people a Labour front. They endorse Labour policy and throw cheap insults at the Tories such as “boutique experiments”, “naive educational tourism” and “flatpack free schools”. They say:

The educational landscape presently evolving is already a powerful force for change. It is led by a group of professionals who collaborate for the good of children, who have a shared vision for the whole system and think beyond the boundaries of their own schools. So please, no return to year zero.

No mention of one in four pupils leaving primary school unable to read or write properly and about two-fifths of 16-year-olds failing to get five good GCSEs, including maths and English even under a system of significantly dumbed-down exams.

I guess the teaching lobby needs PEN as a vehicle for sounding reasonable as their unions are so extreme and militant. They hate SATS of course which hold them to account and are planning to boycott the 2010 tests as soon as the election is safely out of the way. They hate the Tory free schools proposals too as they might just challenge their monopoly of mediocrity.

The Tories have a clear vision for education and an excellent spokesman in Michael Gove to promote that vision. One of the reasons our country is not more successful is that the Tories failed to get a grip of education in the eighties. They must not fail this time. Michael Gove will have a busy summer.