Melanie Phillips asks why incompetent teachers can’t be fired

Melanie Phillips

Story here in the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Wes Widner)


For years, head teachers have complained that one of their main problems was that the terms of teachers’ contracts with local education authorities meant they were unable to sack those who were not up to scratch.

Now Panorama is apparently reporting the shocking fact that, instead of being removed from the profession, dud teachers are merely being recycled by being given good references in exchange for agreeing to look for work in alternative schools.

According to Mick Brookes, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, this is a common practice which he says causes heads serious problems.

The classroom teacher unions, however, think it is perfectly justified.

Well, there’s a surprise. In fact, it is an absolute betrayal of the children for whom school represents their one chance in life.

And a bit later:

The most successful teachers have always understood that children need to be inducted into a body of knowledge, to be taught in a structured and disciplined manner, to be corrected when they make mistakes.

But for decades, the predominant educational ideology has ordained that children effectively teach themselves, with teachers taking a back seat as mere ‘facilitators’.

What children feel about themselves has been deemed to be more important than what they know.

Achievement was bad —because it made others who didn’t achieve feel bad about themselves.

This led to the collapse of the teaching of reading and the dumbing down of virtually every subject on the curriculum. Indeed, it eroded the very basis of teaching as the transmission of knowledge.

The first thing we need to do is pass a law that allows teachers to work without having to join a union. The best teachers will be able to command much higher salaries when they don’t get dragged down by the union. That should cut into the union’s political power, and then we may finally get some decent school choice laws passed – like vouchers – so that parents can choose where their children go to school. That will create pressure on schools to perform – and that means that bad teachers will be fired.

3 thoughts on “Melanie Phillips asks why incompetent teachers can’t be fired”

  1. The teach yourself system they’re talking about is OBE. We imported it from the States, despite it having failed there (see the book The Dumbing Down of America’s Children), and now, finally, our goverment has realized it has been a failure and plans to scrap it. No news yet on what will replace it… And all of this at great cost to the taxpayer.


  2. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. The first step is to create a way to measure the success/failure of teachers and schools. Then people can see whether the teachers are doing their jobs or not.

    But the union knows that well. In NZ, the union has been trying to block any move from government that seeks to establish any measurement.

    “The Auckland Primary Principals’ Association (APPA) is telling members to boycott training to implement national standards and it has union backing.”


    1. Yeah, they do not want parents to have any basis for comparing good schools to bad schools. Compare public sector unions with that allows user ratings. That’s the difference between public sector unions and private sector capitalists. The former has no choice and competition, the latter is all about choice and competition.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s