Mixed messages

Following the Finnish Parliamentary Education Committee on their visit to London in September, one was once again reminded how polarised the education debate is in this country. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but what does it mean when the Department of Education and Employment says one thing and the teachers another, and when the political parties use education to win (or lose) votes, and when OFSTED claims something that is more likely than not to be contradicted by the schools or educational research? Certainly raises a few questions. Surely it's not just a matter of 'conservative teachers stuck in their ways' or 'Government mandarins' or 'pupils and parents left in the middle'? Who's driven this wedge and why? Is there an end to this? Or is it just another case of what Miles Kington has labelled as "I hear what you're saying but I'll ignore it'?

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