Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said Education Secretary Michael Gove's idea of allowing successful headteachers to take over failing schools implied many teachers were not doing their job properly.Surely not?!?
Mr Gove told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the Government planned to introduce another test for youngsters to make sure they could decode words by the age of six.Ooooh, that's not going to go down well! And sure enough, here are the teaching unions in full 'tractor stats' mode:
He said his department would prefer schools to use synthetic phonics, which links sounds to letters to teach children to read, in an effort to target an "unbudgable" group of children who were failing to make the grade.
But Ms Keates said teachers should be praised and standards were far higher than they were 15 years ago. Then only 49% of children reached the required level 4 when they took SATS at 11, while today that figure had topped 80%.'Don't pick on them! They're foreign/ill..!'
She said many children targeted by the Government in this latest initiative were either learning English as a foreign language or suffered severe medical conditions that held them back.
Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT, said the last Government concentrated on helping pupils who attained level 3 in their SATS to reach the higher grade at the expense of a small minority of youngsters who were stuck on level 2.A poor workman always blames his tools, Kevin, not his material. Do keep up...
He claimed many specialist teachers, responsible for helping children who were learning English as a second language, were facing redundancy as a result of Government cuts.
Mr Courtney added: "If the line Gove goes down is blaming teachers, then he is missing the point. It's not about poor schools, poor headteachers or poor teachers. It's about schools with poor intake."
I think Gove is going to have to rethink this first line; sackings may well be required:
"I don't want to be in the business of sacking anyone but I do want to be in the business of saying to all schools and local authorities 'I'm sorry, it's unacceptable if children leave school (unable to read). You have seven years, you have ample resources, you have the full support of the department for education in tackling illiteracy'."If Gove is wondering how those seven years can be utterly wasted, I'm sure this lady could tell him...