Angry school head tackles government

PUBLISHED: 12:30 13 June 2016

St Peter's School, Budleigh. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exb 1493-01-14AW

St Peter's School, Budleigh. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exb 1493-01-14AW

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The headteacher of St Peter's School has taken a stand against the current state of primary school education.

In the letter written to the Government, which has been signed by more than 60 school leaders in Devon, Steve Hitchcock has questioned the Government’s leadership, vision and cuts to funding.

The letter has been sent to Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan MP and Minister of State for Schools Nick Gibb MP.

Mr Hitchcock outlines suggestions which he believes will improve primary school education.

He said: “For so long, the teaching profession has agreed to the demands of government - nearly all teachers see their role as a vocation.

“With this comes a ‘super-hero’ mentality, which means teachers and leaders go along with everything that is presented to them.

“However, now this agreement has meant complicity with the Government’s agenda.

“Poor political leadership, lack of a clear vision, cuts to funding, increased expectations on schools and more testing inflicted on young children have resulted in low morale in schools.

“All of this has led to a huge increase in teacher workload, which is dramatically affecting recruitment and retention.

“It is time for school leaders and teachers to have their voice heard above the government rhetoric, which is used to detract from the real issues happening in education today.”

Mr Hitchcock suggests that the Government needs to reassess its approach to teacher training allocations and acknowledge and address ‘serious teacher recruitment problems’.

The letter also says the vision for pupil assessment and the current funding crisis in primary schools also needs to be investigated.

Mr Hitchcock believes the Government needs to recognise the impact of its current policies on the ‘most vulnerable pupils’.

The letter, which also says that the expertise of teachers needs to be recognised, has also been circulated to parents.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, there are 1.4 million more children in good or outstanding schools than 2010 – we want that to continue.

“The reformed primary curriculum is designed to ensure all children leave school having mastered the basics, but assessment should not be stressful.

“Tests are in pupils’ own interests, helping their teachers understand how they are doing and where they may need extra help.

“We are looking in depth at the three biggest concerns teachers have raised - marking, planning and resources and data management.

“We’re also investing hundreds of millions in teacher recruitment and the vacancy rate has remained low over the last 15 years.”

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