TWO months after his controversial appointment, there will be relief that Education Secretary Damian Hinds intends to praise the work of teachers when he makes his first keynote speech to the profession later today.
In this sense, the Minister is continuing the progress made by his Rotherham-born predecessor Justine Greening who realised, quicker than most, that great teaching holds the key to academic success.
Yet, while it is welcome that Mr Hinds intends to give teachers more time to focus on their vocation so they can spend more time in the classroom, they’ll be looking for guidance from the Minister on the existing responsibilities that he now believes to be unnecessary.
He will need to provide specifics if he, too, wishes to win the trust and respect of teachers. And, if he’s being sincere, he will provide them with the practical resources that they need to do the job.
With a damning report by the Policy Exchange think-tank revealing the extent to which teachers now have to rely upon free online teaching resources of a varying quality because schools can no longer afford textbooks, Mr Hinds needs to address this.
Until relatively recently, a succession of Education Secretaries have taken the teaching profession for granted and alienated school staff – the very people whose expertise and professionalism is fundamental if today’s youngsters, and especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are to become tomorrow’s high-flyers.