Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's not fair, Tompkins

I have been know to complain about the adolescent attitudes of the teaching unions:
A skilled and confident teaching profession must be central to our education policy. But too often the teachers' voice, as heard through their unions, is the reverse. It is endlessly negative, opposing every government imitative - good, bad or lunatic. At its worst it is full of teenage nihilism. It's not fair. I hate you. You're not my dad.
Those attitudes now seem to be spreading to the National Association of Head Teachers, judging by reports of its recent conference.

That impression, it is true, may be down to the reporting by sympathetic journalists more than the event itself.

The BBC, for instance, has Mick Brookes - the Secretary General of the NAHT - warning that "healthy but boring school dinners could be encouraging children to buy their lunch from chip shops instead". The complaint that healthy food is boring sounds like something you would expect from the children not the head, but the word "boring" comes from the BBC reporter and not Brookes.

Or take the Notebook column in today's Education Guardian (which does not appear to be on the paper's website). There Rebecca Smithers writes:
Readers might recall this time last year ... when the little known education minister Derek Twigg was booed and jeered (Patricia Hewitt-style) at the same event in Telford after a particularly boring and ill thought out speech.
Again that childish word "boring".

If we expect anyone to defend the principle that visiting speakers should be politely received however tedious they, surely it is headteachers? Yet here we have a liberal/left journalist implicitly advancing the idea that one should not expect a gathering of them to be any more mature than a group of badly behaved children.

I fully expect to live to see the collapse of civilisation - possibly before the end of this week.

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