This is circulating as a 'comment by a young teacher':
'A small sentence in the White Paper shows exactly how the Government intends to control the content of teacher training. It says:
‘We’ll ensure discredited ideas unsupported by firm evidence are not promoted to new teachers.’
It sounds reasonable. After all, who would want teachers told pseudoscience such as Brain Gym? But I don’t think that’s what ministers have in mind. The ‘discredited ideas’ will be theories which ministers don’t like. But theories are ideas to be investigated, discussed, weighed in the balance. But they can’t necessarily be proved by applying the scientific method because they’re theories. Rousseau, Dewey, Montessori, Steiner, Hahn, Arnold, Freire, Bloom, Piaget, Neill, Holt and others all developed different theories. It is part of the intellectual development of teachers to be introduced to these different ideas.
But this White Paper proposes banning discussion of any theory which a minister decides is ‘discredited’ orthodoxy.
Silencing of such discussion is dangerous.'
Needless to say, I find this sinister and farcical at the same time: as if everything in education is backed by 'evidence'. Consider 'subject boundaries'. Is there 'evidence' that there is a boundary between geography and history? Is there evidence that it's a good idea for secondary students to move from room to room during a school day? Is there evidence that it's a good idea to have or not to have a way of dividing a secondary school up vertically for sport, or any other activities? No these are just 'traditions' or 'constructs' that English schools do.
Then, was there evidence that primary children needed the spelling, punctuation and grammar test? None given. It was justified because supposedly those topics give 'right and wrong' answers. They don't.
Do Year 3 children 'need' the Stone Age? Do primary school children need history to be cut off at 1066? Is there evidence for that?
Is there evidence that we should have religious schools?
We could all go on with many examples.