union's vision for education
WORKERS, DEC 2004 ISSUE
The country's biggest teaching union has set out its vision for education for the next five years and beyond. NUT General Secretary Steve Sinnott said it was time to remove the barriers, especially of social class and low income, that get in the way of giving every child the best chance. Bringing down the Barriers is based on thorough research and evidence and not only represents the voice of the NUT and other teachers, but is aimed at everyone with a stake in education, including parents and young people.
Most parents want good local schools rather than a range of options to chose from, says Sinnott: "It would be profoundly pessimistic to assume that the idea of good local schools for every community is a less powerful concept than the "right to choose". Other proposals include the scrapping of OFSTED (replacing it with an independent inspectorate), Key Stage tests, selective schools and league tables.
Sinnott has called for meetings with Education Secretary Charles Clarke and other politicians to discuss the union's vision. But a spokeswoman for the Department for Education and Skills said the government had already set out its vision for education and that "performance tables and tests are here to stay, parents have a right to this information". This kind of response confirms that government itself is the biggest barrier to progress in education.
• Bringing down the Barriers is available as a PDF file at www.nut.org.uk