Lead letter in The Times
Ed Balls attacked over his bullying of schools
The Times, 23 Apr 2008
||Doc. No. 2008.008 T113L
Power to schools
We need to return to a civilised approach to education
Sir, Writing of Ed Balls, MP, Charles Clarke (letters,
April 21 ) regrets his failure to provide ‘a coherent and focused reform strategy
for the 14-19 curriculum’. I, on the contrary, regret that the interview with Mr
Balls (report, April 18) revealed far too great a propensity to restrict the liberty
of schools to teach as they think fit.
Mr Balls says he is ‘determined to fight the battle
for excellence for all’.
This grandstanding is inappropriate. We do not need these upsetting ‘battles’ between
Whitehall and the schools, attempting to ensure that the gentleman in Whitehall gets
his way. We do not need our faith schools to be branded as ‘offenders’ by
ministers. We do not need bullying ministers who rejoice that ‘local authorities
and diocesan officials are now very well aware of their responsibilities’.
we need a return to more civilised days, when in education people at the chalk face were
respected, and allowed to get on with the job they knew best. The days when
schools were free to choose their pupils, and parents were the judges of a school’s
efficiency. The days when excellence was not equated with cowed submission to orders
to admit or re-admit unsuitable and trouble-making pupils.
Mr Balls says he is not denying that he has made things ‘stressful
and uncomfortable’ for
some schools. I consider that a shameful admission.
Chairman Emeritus, Professional Association of Teachers