I am fascinated by the way politics interacts with education. Often what politicians ask for is distorted beyond all recognition at the implementation phase. One example of this was the 1997 Labour manifesto, it promised “We will encourage the use of the most effective teaching methods, including phonics for reading and whole class interactive teaching for maths” and yet while the government made some short-lived progress in maths, a report found in 2006 that the evidence on phonics was still being widely ignored. A bigger issue under that government was behaviour. The 1997 manifesto promised that:
Teachers will be entitled to positive support from parents to promote good attendance and sound discipline. Schools suffer from unruly and disruptive pupils. Exclusion or suspension may sometimes be necessary. We will, however, pilot new pupil referral units so that schools are protected but these pupils are not lost to education or the country.
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