I’ve just finished reading Robert Peal’s blistering polemical attack on progressive education in England, Progressively Worse, the burden of bad ideas in British schools, and, while it clearly has an agenda and an axe to grind, it’s a book I hope everyone involved in teaching spares the time to read and absorb.
Doubtless, it’s intrinsically biased nature will ensure that many readers will find it easy to dismiss as ‘prog bashing’, and it certainly takes every opportunity to go for the jugular. In many ways, the endorsement from Michael Gove could well be a kiss of death; Gove could announce longer school holidays, a 10% pay hike and the abolition of Ofsted and still be roundly condemned. But I do hope that enough teachers can see past these failings.
The first part of book is by far the best. In it Peal sets out how ‘progressive’ ideology became entrenched in our school system from its radical beginnings in the early 1960s, through the loony excesses of the 70s, and its intractable resistance to reform in the over the next three decades.
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