The contradictions of our politicians

Ministers will always listen to teachers, says Dr Bernard Trafford, just as long as it’s something they want to hear

It’s always good to find that education ministers are in tune with the profession. Last week schools minister Nick Gibb admitted that there is a looming problem with regard to teacher recruitment and retention: he promised the government is tackling it.

Interestingly, government has hitherto denied there’s a problem. Credit, then, to Mr Gibb who has identified a mismatch between the figures he is given and what teachers are telling him: “In devising policy, I’m assuming what I’m hearing from (teachers) is true, and the statistics somehow – albeit true – are not telling us the whole story.”

Is he really listening to teachers? That’s cheering. More encouraging, perhaps, than my discovery, in a profile of the minister a fortnight ago, that he has a map on his office wall charting every area where schools or authorities are not up to scratch on the phonics tests he so loves. Up a ladder, down a snake: that’s education politics, folks!

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