Mandatory Optimism

The Long Walk

Over the last 30 years education has been subject to a barrage of reform from the government and the educational establishment. Opposition is limited to token disquiet about any reform from the teaching unions while certain reforms are met with little more than cynicism from experienced frontline teachers who have seen it all before. One of the ways the teaching profession has been controlled and opposition to reform diluted on the ground has been to reward compliance through improved conditions and pay; the TLR payments introduced in the eighties (see Lowe 2007) and the current governments obsession with performance related pay are examples of this. Although TLRs and PRP are essentially government inventions it is worth saying that they are/will be used to encourage compliance with other agendas that may even be contrary to government policy at the time.

To illustrate this systematic entrenchment of command and control thinking I…

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