17th November 2015
Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb MP, has given his clearest support to date for the use of textbooks in schools. Mr Gibb was addressing the annual PA/BESA Education Conference in Central London a year on from his controversial appearance at the same event when he challenged publishers to raise the standard of British-produced textbooks. In stark contrast to his critical comments of a year ago, Mr Gibb praised British education publishers for the work they have been undertaking to ensure the resources they produce are of the highest quality and stand comparison with the best materials worldwide.
Mr Gibb particularly highlighted the challenge in changing what he termed the ‘anti-textbook ethos’ which has been allowed to take hold in the UK, and urged publishers and teacher trainers to work with him to ‘change the zeitgeist’.
“Schools”, he said, “have been told not to demand high quality textbooks”. Pointing to how using a well-crafted high quality textbook aids teaching, reduces workload and increases pupil attainment, the Minister called on publishers, Ofsted, teacher training colleges and teachers themselves to work with the Government to change this attitude and embed textbook-based learning firmly within the classroom, commenting that “We must work together to encourage the demand of high quality teaching resources”.
Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association, said: “We were delighted to have the Minister return to our conference with such a positive and clear message. Over the past year we have worked closely together to produce textbook quality guidelines for publishers which will help raised the standard of UK-produced resources. As he said, “Textbooks work”. We now need to work together – government, publishers, Ofsted and teacher trainers - to ensure this message is heard loud and clear”.