chapter  2
10 Pages

Education of teachers: the English experience

ByJohn MacBeath

In England, the education of teachers has remained a contentious issue under three successive governments, Conservative, Labour and Cameron’s Coalition, in which the debate is still very much alive.

The terms of engagement were set under the Thatcher government with a frontal assault not only on schools but on the academic establishment which, it was held, had led successive generations up a destructive liberal path. A number of terms had to be removed from the educational lexicon, foremost among them ‘progressivism’, held responsible for the decline in standards. Much of the blame was laid at the door of John Dewey, the progenitor of ‘child-centred’ methods, a notion that was also to be exorcised along with the word ‘caring’, the soft underbelly of progressive and child-centredness, which Margaret Thatcher had personally wanted removed from school-related documentation.