Blaming teachers

Jane Miller

On the first day of the school holidays – and the hottest day for 13 years – 650 London teachers of English from secondary and primary schools met to discuss the implications of the second volume of the Cox Report.[*] The volume elaborates a set of proposals for the teaching of language and literature to all children between five and 16 who attend state schools and who will be embarking on the first stages of the new National Curriculum from this September. The day was organised by teachers and paid for by them. It was necessary to raise an extra £1600 in order to give everybody a photocopy of the report. Publications of this kind thud onto desks and doorsteps continuously, and they are free. However, the DES does not send copies to ordinary classroom teachers and was not prepared to let the day’s organisers have more than 50 copies.

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[*] English for ages five to 16: Proposals of the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the Secretary of State for Wales, June 1989.