Do teachers trust MPs?

Last year it was reported that ministers were seeking a legal power that would give them control of basic educational qualifications content. They say it would be used only to specify “which authors’ works should be studied for someone to gain a GCSE in English”.

Delegates at this year’s Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference in Liverpool don’t trust politicians not to ‘play God’ with the school curriculum and believe that they would use the power to dictate content in detail.


In a report in today’s edition of The Times an  English teacher from Berkshire, Teresa Dawes, is quoted  as saying that the “ idea of any politician determining which parts of history or science children are taught or which books they study is indeed a chilling and frightening one – another stop closer to Orwell’s 1984”.


“Ministers insist that such power would only be used as a last resort – perhaps to preserve the teaching of Shakespeare. I do not believe that Shakespeare, after 400 years, needs defending by the Labour party,” she said.

What worries Ms Dawes and others is the a group of MPs , with little or no justification, last year asked the AQA exam board to drop this poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

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 Ms Dawes said that the pressure put by a group of MPs last year on the AQA exam board to remove Carol Ann Duffy’s poem, Education for Leisure, was particularly worrying because the politicians appeared to have no understanding of what the poem was about……

 “Education for Leisure is not a glorification of violence – it is the exact opposite – it is in fact a pro-education and anti-violence poem – a social and political comment which seeks to explore the reasons for such antisocial behaviour,” Ms Dawes said.

One does not have to read much more of this to realise that teachers, with what I think is good reason, mistrusts the government.  As soon as this government gives itself the power to interfere, it does. I cannot think of too many cases in the past where it has not done just that. Why should anyone think that this time things will be different.


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