The oath and the compass

Eddie Playfair

It sounds like the title of a medieval thriller; the brotherhood of educators send their top monks out to roam the world having sworn to serve learning and they solve all sorts of intractable problems with the help of a golden compass which mysteriously steers people in the right direction. Philip Pullman or Umberto Eco could do a great treatment and film rights could follow.

Every aspiring Labour secretary of state for education has to have to have their ‘upsetting teachers’ moment. It seems to be a necessary ritual; make a lot of teachers angry to prove that you’re not in their pocket, then move on. But it helps when the chosen issue is one which actually matters and could substantially improve education. Unfortunately today’s suggestion by Tristram Hunt that we should seriously consider introducing a Singaporean-style oath for teachers will have difficulty passing that impact assessment.

These sorts of symbolic…

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