While John Furlong may have right on his side in his criticism of some aspects of recent English education policy, he is making the classic mistake of trying to persuade people that the grass is greener elsewhere when he says that “in the Republic of Ireland, postgraduate training for teachers is being lengthened from one to two years…and in the future all courses are to be provided by research-led university departments rather than stand-alone teachers’ colleges” (“In pursuit of the truth”, 2 May).
The former is true, although whether it will have the desired effect of “improving standards” (whatever that means exactly) remains to be seen, as it is a policy devised by a regulatory body, the Teaching Council, that has little or no serious interest in intellectualism. The latter development is the product of a less-than-coherent report (authored by Pasi Sahlberg, Pamela Munn and one John Furlong) that has occasioned unnecessary confusion, antagonism and opportunism.
The grass may be green(er) in Ireland, but that is largely because it rains so much here.
David Limond, Andrew Loxley and Aidan Seery
Trinity College Dublin
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