The campaign at www.ordinaryvoices.org.uk
has been calling for an end to the disastrous historic situation in the UK under which party politicians constantly redirect education governance through an endless succession of short-term structural reforms to the service. Over the more recent past, the political tinkering with education has also involved pedagogical considerations, leaving teachers with serious challenges to their professionalism.
As I have consistently pointed out, this is counter to the affirmation by all the political parties that they have at heart the long-term interests of our young people, the strength and independence of the profession and the capacity of our system to 'out-perform' the competition on the international stage.
It seems there are less ordinary voices than my own finally making it clear that the political manipulation of our education system is harmful and is in need of reform. In a recent speech, Sir David Bell, former Ofsted chief, made the following remarks:
"Political "firefighting" and shaping policy around electoral cycles has a destructive impact, says Sir David.
It is a "ridiculous situation" for school curriculums to be based on "ministerial whims", he says."
He makes it clear that "constant political interference and policy changes are barriers to raising standards in school." So why are we not having a national debate about this problem, especially in the run-up to the general election?
I would take issue with just one point made in the BBC report, where Sir David said, "Ministers need to take a more grown-up view of policy - not cut their noses off to spite their own faces." It is the whole of the political elite in this country that needs to take a more grown-up view of their responsibility to create an environment in which long-term aims and priorities can be addressed, and now is the time to begin that difficult journey.