On 20 November 2014 The Times published an article about educational publishing in Britain today. Under the heading, ‘Textbook case of sloppy work’, the standfirst reads: ‘Britain once led the world in educational publishing. Now we have to import titles’; and the second paragraph begins: ‘the UK now produces among the worst textbooks of any developed nation’. Could it be that those outstanding textbook writers of the last century have disappeared and left no heirs? If so, how has this happened?
Chris Barker, Chair of our Educational Writer’s Group, has responded to these questions with an open letter examining the current state of educational publishing in the UK:
If government ministers want high-quality textbooks, they need to understand that this process takes time, and they need to stop tinkering with the curriculum. They need to work with writers and publishers to create a climate in which the best educational writing can flourish. Leaving commercial interest to provide quick solutions, then complaining about declining quality, is not the answer.