The former Permanent Secretary, Sir David Bell says we must trust the teaching profession more and not rely on legislation

He calls for an independent professional body to plan education strategy

Sir David Bell wants a new, independent, professional body in education  to plan long term  and to present proposals that the government responds to. Education should be categorised as national infrastructure and there should be better long term planning, and time to consolidate changes that have already taken place.

He told  the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme  (9 January): “We should set up an independent body to be providing advice …it should publish it’s findings and government should publish response.”

On the government’s role in education he said: “I think the education department and governments in general have too much power over the education system.

“If you think about the details of the curriculum, of examinations, of assessment, I think we can trust more those who know first-hand the experience of children, those who work with them, to give better advice.”, he said

The details and minutiae should not be left  to politicians and officials in the department.

He said we always default to legislation, but legislation doesn’t change anything in education. (it does, of course but the the sentiment at least has resonance)We have 400,000 teachers and 20,000 schools and   we need to trust and look to them   to make the right decisions for children in their care.

He wants a moratorium for the next five years to allow current changes to bed down.  Teachers complain that one change is never given enough time to bed  down  before others come along. In the last 30 years there have been 30 pieces of education legislation

His parting shot: “It is those working in schools that bring about real change”

One is reminded of an observation offered by the FTs leader writer last year reviewing education reforms  :

‘If tinkering by well-meaning ministers were enough to raise educational standards, Britain’s schools would lead the world’





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