An article by Solomon Hughes in the Morning Star recently concentrated on the influence of the Blairite Progress group on Labour`s policies, with mentions of Tristram Hunt featuring strongly. Speaking at their rally, Hunt declared himself "delighted to be with Progress", and although his "jokes" may not have gone down well, his policies for education certainly will have.
That means, of course, that under a Labour government, teachers cannot expect very much in the way of improvement. Whilst understanding, to some extent, that his appointment had much to do with meeting the Gove challenge at the despatch box, it is evident that now he must be moved on. He clearly was taken in by all of Gove`s nonsense about assessment changes being necessary because results were so good; he still fails to acknowledge that teaching now is better than ever, and teachers must be told to work less, not criticised for poor discipline, or whatever. Ofsted, and heads who fear the inspection regime, have managed to force sixty hours of work a week out of teachers, a situation which inevitably will lead to recruitment problems, and future standards. Has Hunt attacked this ludicrous state of affairs? Of course not! His own idiotic suggestions for re-licensing and a teachers` oath are testimony to the fact that Labour would do well to replace him before the election with someone with knowledge and experience of the state sector, who can empathise with the teaching profession. Labour cannot pretend the problems with pay and pensions do not exist, or that the decrease in social mobility is not part of the education remit. How long will the so-called "top" universities be allowed to take the majority of their students from private schools?
With Progress behind him, Hunt may think he has bigger fish to fry; Labour needs someone in the post who realises nothing is more important than the education of our children, and that equality of opportunity is still a principle worth defending!